Always Learning: Playing and Embracing the Beginner's Mind

“In the Beginner’s Mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few.”~Shunryu Suzuki

“Every child is an Artist. The problem is how to remain an Artist once we grow up.”~Pablo Picasso

Shoshin is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning “Beginner’s Mind”. It refers to having an attitude of curiosity, openness, eagerness and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would. I think of it like a young child playing. Their busy mind focusing and then getting lost in the moment, opening to the creativity and the flow. I truly believe in the benefits of staying curious and being a lifelong learner. Continuously becoming the student is a skill and practice in humility which helps make me a better teacher and better human. It’s hard to admit we don’t know all the answers but really, how can we?

It’s difficult to give up our preconceptions and our fears. To give up one’s control is both scary and liberating—this is learning. I will be taking classes myself for much of my time off from teaching this Summer. My first thought was to say “working holidays,” but I need to think of them as playing holidays. I need to strive to having an attitude of fun, to keeping my mind open for new possibilities…always to have the Beginner’s Mind. I hope to be as much of an example to my student’s and their loved ones as they are to me, to do the same in life and learning. To listen and not know everything. To see a different way or from a different perspective. To try something new or in a new way. Be curious, learn something and have fun this Summer!