Beginner’s Mind

One of the central concepts or ‘attitudinal foundations’ of Mindfulness is the ‘Beginner’s Mind’.


Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki said, in  Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,

“In the Beginner’s Mind there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind there are few.


Having a Beginner’s Mind means being open to experience, not making your mind up about it before you start. It means bringing an attitude of curiosity and open enquiry to every experience, in the same way that a child does.


A child can find something of interest in even the most mundane experience. So instead of having an attitude of ‘I know this, I’ve seen it, done a million times before’, just imagine you are experiencing it for the first time. Pretend you are a child again and bring curiosity to your experience.


Try for a moment dropping your expectations or preconceived ideas. Take something that you do every day, like eating breakfast. Just as an experiment, try eating it as if you’ve never tasted it before.


Focus fully on the experience of eating, savour each mouthful, really taste it before you swallow. Notice the smell, the texture, the taste, imagining that you are tasting this food for the first ever time. What you will find is that you are fully ‘in the moment’ paying attention to the experience of eating.


When you bring a Beginner’s Mind to your experience, you will never be bored. Since every experience is new, it always has something to teach you, even if you may have previously have thought you knew it all.


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