Cultivating a Beginner's Mind

"In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”  - Shunryu Suzuki

Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning 'Beginner's Mind'. It means having an attitude of openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level.

Cultivating a beginner's mind is a wonderful strategy to help you break away from habitual actions, beliefs, or ways of thinking and responding.

Allow yourself to approach every situation in life the same way, with no ego, no expectations. Allow yourself to fail, to learn, and most of all, to enjoy the experience for what it is at that exact moment.

Here are a few tips to help you embrace this mindset in all aspects of your life, new or old, to help open you up to new surprises and ways of looking at things:

Take one step at a time - without worrying about the journey, or what we'll know or be able to do in the future, focus on each step and experience in the present moment.

Allow yourself to fail - celebrate falling down as well as getting up, it's all part of learning, don't let it dim your determination. Immerse yourself in your actions, and forget about those that may be watching.

Embrace 'I don't know' - keep an open mind and respond to each circumstance as it is, not according to how you assume things will be. Focus on questions rather than answers and you may find that even a beginner has something to teach you.

Live without shoulds - we could all write a book about the things we should have done, the places we should have gone and the things we should be doing right now couldn't we? Let go of the shoulds that probably reflect other peoples' ideas of what your life should look like and allow yourself to be and live without pressure.

Experience the moment fully - most of the time we're dwelling on the past while stressing about the future, meanwhile the current moment passes right by us unnoticed. Try to stay present and notice each moment, you'll find that even the ordinary may begin to shine.

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2 February 2016

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