A New Year and a Beginners Mind

In a  beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in a  master’s mind there are few

– unknown

With expertise, one gains preconceived ideas on the How-To when preforming regular or familiar routine tasks.  Reminded by his experienced, he knows what to do; and what not do pertaining to his task. He gets daily tasks done.
I’ve use this approach with work:

  • “do what works”.
  • “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

These have been good axioms for production and manufacturing. They have served me well.

But now I think about the first time I approached  a new problem, new   job ,   hobby  ,or   new way of thinking:  The first time I learned how used the computer, learned blogging, wrote a poem, did the laundry, gardened,  When I approached something new., I  had less bias toward the new experience , and more excitement then approaching  routine tasks…
Spontaneity freshness instead of repetition and stagnation. I was a beginner.

One develops methods, but he can get boxed in by his patterns. If I  “do what works” and stick with the same process, I get the job done, but I never see outside the system. Repetition is a rythm,  but it does get  dull and boring. Its more fun to learn something new. there are many possibilities.

If you discriminate too much, you limit yourself, If you are too demanding, or too greedy,
your mind is not rich and self-sufficient . If we lose our origional self sufficient minds, we will lose all precepts. […] If you keep your origional mind, the precepts will keep themselves.

–Shunryu,Suzuki  “Zen Mind, Beginners Mind”

The real secrets of the arts: always be a beginner

As Shunryu Suzuki implies,  when approaching meditation, approach with a “Beginners mind“.   Approach each experience,  as if it were fresh and new.   This is applicable to  the creative process,  Forget what you’ve learned before, and let go of any biases and preconceptions.

So here is the new year, I would like to approach this year with a “beginner’s mind”, to break out of the old routines and old systems. Shoshin.   Many possibilities.  I will approach this new year with my beginners mind.

Happy new year!


About chris
I write because I'm not good at it. I share because, writing without sharing seems empty. Thus, I write and share what I think is meaningful.

3 Responses to A New Year and a Beginners Mind

  1. I am so glad you wrote about this subject, as I have been thinking a great deal about Beginner’s Mind, myself. In addition, I think this is a well-written and timely post for the start of a new year.

    And… I keep trying to finish reading “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”— your post on this subject is encouraging me to make another pass at Shunru’s gorgeous book. Your post is lovely!

  2. chris says:

    Thanks! The full paragraph I quoted above from Shunru’s “Zen Mind, Beginners mind” catches the essence of the Buddhism of Zen meditation eloquently.
    The “manual” is my favorite meditation companion, I come back to it again and again.

  3. Pingback: 19 March 2012: excitement of flight « Gratitude every day

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