Today’s Miracle Moment is About the Power of the Beginner’s Mind.
There’s a story from Japanese Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki about a professor who went to a Zen Master. The professor asked the Master to explain the meaning of Zen. The Master quietly poured a cup of tea. The cup was full but he continued to pour. The professor couldn’t stand it any longer, so he questioned the Master impatiently, “Why do you keep pouring when the cup is full?” The Master said, “I want to point out to you that you are similarly attempting to understand Zen while your mind is full. So first, empty your mind of preconceptions before you try to understand Zen. If your mind is empty, it’s always ready for anything — it is open to everything.” The Master went on to say:
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the expert’s mind there are few.”
Our culture often shies away from any notion of being a beginner. We feel embarrassed about not having the answer and think we should know everything. The power of the beginner’s mind lies in this paradox: the more you know about something, the less likely you are to keep your mind open to more learning
Your next breakthrough isn’t in what you already know — it’s in something you don’t know.
If we were already completely enlightened and had all the answers, we wouldn’t need to learn. It takes the willingness to be vulnerable to have a beginner’s mind and to embrace the unknown.
Our friend and mentor Jack Canfield, creator of The Chicken Soup for the Soul series, is a great example of this. He’s taught seminars for 50 years, and at every workshop he attends, he still sits in the front row with a notebook taking notes. He always shows up with a beginner’s mind open to what he doesn’t know — and that’s one of his secrets to success.
The beginner’s mind is about having a childlike mind that’s open, eager to learn, and sees new possibilities in the world.
The toddler doesn’t beat himself up for not “toddling” the first time. He just gets up again and again and again. When we aren’t burdened with the responsibility of needing to know everything we think we’re supposed to know, there’s room for a youthful energy to rise up within us. We become more flexible, more adventurous, and more ingenious. From this place, we can see new solutions in any situation.
This week, we invite you to embrace the unknown so that you can stay open to your next breakthrough, inspiration or creative solution.
Let us know in the comments section what ways you’ll embrace the beginner’s mind this week.