Beginners Mind

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few” –    Shunryū Suzuki

There have been times in my life when I believed, I had it all figured out.  So confident at times, I was happy to let everyone else know too.

As I have matured in my understanding, I have come to know that when I think I have all the answers, or when I think I know what is next, I miss out on discovering immense possibilities and allowing the mystery of life to unfold.

Shunryū Suzuki teaches us that when we experience life through a beginners mind, we will always see with new eyes, willing and eager to learn about the many opportunities life has to offer.

Each time we close our minds believing we know better or believe we no longer need to expand or change our point of view, we lose our beginners mind and our ability to grow into our full potential.

“Whether it is possible or not is not the point, we still need to make an effort and when we make this effort there is appeasement, there is Nirvana.  The progress you make is always little by little. There is no other way to attain calmness of your mind than to do it or to try to do it.  If we think before we try anything “Oh that will be difficult”, it will, but when we live in a beginners mind, there is no difficulty because we do not know…. that is when there is appeasement, and there is calmness of your mind.”  – Shunryū Suzuki

Shunryu’s wisdom is simple and challenges us to change the way we look at our life.  Why do we find this difficult?…because we want to believe we have gained enough knowledge, and we want to believe we have done enough.

In the beginners mind we never stop learning, we never stop healing or growing and once we accept this, and know this as absolute truth, we will always find calmness of mind.

To listen to the full teaching of “Beginners Mind” by Shunryū Suzuki go to “Survivors Scapbook” Blog.


30 thoughts on “Beginners Mind

  1. “When we live in a beginners mind, there is no difficulty because we do not know..” beautifully said and profoundly true, but not easy. 🙂

    1. So true Don, children have no problem doing this. We on the other hand have to re-learn those natural responses to life and practice, practice! 🙂 Thankyou for your comment.

  2. I have many times found myself feeling hurt or offended when I learn that all I know isn’t all there is 🙂 As I have grown older and wiser — I better understand that I must remain a beginner — but I can easily slip into the default of knowing more than I know. Thought provoking… thank you 🙂

    1. It is true Catherine, I too have felt this. Having a beginners mind allows us to always be open to receive what we need, instead of blocking this with ego or lack of effort. Thankyou so much for your comment.

  3. I love being in beginners mind – that openness. Beyond ego. Just in the moment learning. Curiosity.

  4. We’ve all done this, right? Opened our mouth and given advice that wasn’t asked for or needed. I have a friend who does it regularly and I’ve learned not to share my problems b/c she always wants to solve them. When really, no one but me can do that . . .

    1. You are right, only you can do that. People mean well, they want to fix your problems so you feel happy and often they don’t realise they are doing it. Most people just want to be listened to and sometimes that can lead us to finding our answers. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Love this Karen. I agree beginners mind is powerful … not so much for the inquiry, but the openness to receive and accept what we find. There lies the path to peace 🙂

    1. Beautifully said Val. Shunryu’s teaching is exactly that. He believes if we do not have stillness within us each day to sit, accept and receive with openess, We cannot find the calm, peaceful existence we all search for. 🙂

    1. Yes young minds are so full of enthusiasm and embrace life fully! As Adults we often need to rekindle that enthusiasm and remember how precious each moment is. Thankyou Lorrie, lovely to hear from you. 🙂

    1. I think it is a gift if we can Diana. Its not that we dont have to do things everyday and make an effort, its knowing there is always another way to see life or another lesson to embrace along our path. Thankyou 🙂

  6. Another great post, and for certain I need to be reminded of this . . . especially within my family unit as I am the oldest child and I all to often forget that I am always learning. To think more in terms of a beginner’s mind in my life, and especially as to family, will allow for more harmony. Thank you for this sweet reminder to step back into a more simple way of being.

  7. Karen I love this and agree I am never going to stop learning, it is what keeps us young and connected. It gives us a new passion and interest in life. I feel like I am in kindergarten at the moment learning how to edit my novel writing course and I am loving it. There are so many things I want to learn. I have lost count.

    1. So true Kath, Oh I havent had an editor look at my work yet uggh. There is so much to learn and while we still live in the beginners mind we will always be open to listen, learn and live fully on our journey. You are wonderful. 😉

  8. Simple yet difficult. I have a somewhat analytical mind and tend to approach new things by looking at possibilities which, for me, seems to include the difficulties.
    I see the value here and will try to turn off that kind of mind-chatter.

    1. You are perfect Emilie. We all see life so differently. There is no right or wrong. If we can practice stillness each day, we can feel calm and the ability to listen to our higher self. Thankyou for your comment.

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