It is Christmas Eve and the kid in me is excited. I feel open and receptive to all that I can feel joy about, feel peace inside about, and feel love for in my life. The term beginner's mind has come up lately several times so I think maybe I need to pay attention more openly.
Let me explain beginner's mind. This idea I think originates from the Buddhist writings of Suzuki Roshi and his book, Zen Mind, Beginners Mind. The beginner's mind is receptive and open to learning. With this mind there is a willingness to take in the lessons being presented. The opposite of beginner's mind is the expert mind, which already thinks it knows and is closed and not receptive.
As we go through life, there are many lessons being presented and if we have a beginner's mind than the lessons can come in and we can be enriched by them. If we think we already know than the lessons pass us by only to show up again seeking receptivity. If life's important lessons are kept out than the message arrives more forcefully. Think 2X4 on the side of the head as the kind of indication that we have not be receptive to what life has been trying to teach us. Disease is sometimes seen as an awakening call when we have been ignoring our stressors and the accompanying lessons.
A beginner's mind keeps the 2X4 in the lumberyard and the immune system vibrantly effective. If we are receptive, life is easier and works out much better. If we are receptive our body is lighter and healthier. If we are receptive are growth is ongoing and our sense of self is enriched.
Now how do we practice beginner's mind? The best way to do so is to practice receiving all that comes your way with openness. Even the messages that are confusing or make us angry offer a gem buried in the discomfort. What can we learn from this experience, is a great question to explore within? If the answer is nothing the beginner's mind has closed shop and the lumberyard may be activated.
Consider this: All messages that we hear or see are offering us awareness if we are open, and don't take them personally. The second part of this consideration is harder to explain. (Taking a few minutes to see what inspiration will flow through these fingers.) The beginner's mind is receptive and will always help expand our awareness. The ego-mind takes things personally and rejects most messages as some kind of affront to its control. The ego-mind wants to be in charge, the beginner's mind wants to learn. Which mind offers the best opportunity to realize the life we desire?
I will take tomorrow off but be back to blogging this weekend. Merry Christmas to you and thanks for stopping by my blog.
Letter #5 to the President
Dear Mr. President,
It is Christmas Eve and I hope all is well for you and your wonderful family. The best wishes for you and yours.
The Afghan War is not ours and it offers only suffering to many as we get more entangled. Please send them food, materials for housing, and books for their schools instead of troops, more weapons and bombs.
I send this letter in protest of the War and request that you re-examine your course of action for the good of us all.
Peace to you,
Joseph Bernard, Ph.D.
Please join me in this campaign to protest the escalation of the war in Afghanistan.
Send you emails to the President here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact