Cultivating A Beginner’s Mindset
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” –Shunryu Suzuki
If it’s true what they say, that no one likes a know-it-all, what happens when the know-it-all lives in your head? Funny enough, when people think they know all there is to know on a subject, they prove to be more closed-minded. And daresay, less enjoyable to be around.
The question then becomes: how can you embrace more of a beginner’s mindset, which reflects humility with respect to life experiences and the world?
The Zen Buddhist term, Shoshin, means “beginner’s mind”, and holds that only when you are a true beginner, can you really learn anything. As usual, yoga gives you a perfect opportunity to practice your life skills on the mat, helping you to have greater access to wiser choices off the mat.
Here are five ways to practice developing your beginner’s mind.
1. Yes, No, Maybe. The beginner’s mindset refers to maintaining the open attitude of a beginner, no matter how advanced your knowledge becomes on a topic. A wise place to start would be to embrace more openness with regard to your judgments. And really, everything is a judgment – from your opinion about someone else’s beliefs, to the system of yoga or religion you follow, to the “facts” that you consider absolutely unwavering. After all, at a certain time in history, it was a fact that the world was flat!
When considering anything, try taking on the viewpoint of “Yes, No, Maybe,” rather than choosing just one perspective.
- Should a person eat meat? Yes, no, maybe.
- Is your method of disciplining your children the best choice? Yes, no, maybe.
- Should you really wait 30 minutes after a meal before swimming? Yes, no, maybe.
The qualification here is to not be wishy-washy, but instead to consider that few things in life are black and white. The universe is basically comprised of all shades of gray.
2. Emulate the Wonder of Children. The great naturalist, Rachel Carson, said in her book, The Sense of Wonder, “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”
Starting your yoga practice in Child’s Pose (Balasana) can help to not only nurture that spirit of wonder, but to humble you as you bow to your highest energy and light. Similarly, you can end your practice with Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana) before moving into Corpse Pose (Savasana). Let it be your intention to feed the childlike curiosity and awe of not knowing all the answers.
3. Practice the Don’t Know Mind. Author Jack Kornfield shares a powerful meditation to embrace what he calls “the Don’t Know Mind.” It’s a simple contemplation that asks you to consider all the things within and around you that you don’t fully understand – like how the earth spins through space or how people are born and are dying every day.
Rather than trying to figure these things out, you practice being at peace with the state of not knowing. In this way, you learn to relax into the moments when faced with a challenge or a conundrum and have no idea what will happen. In this meditation, faith in the unknown brings about inner peace.
4. Beware of Storytelling. Beginner’s Mind asks you to see things as they actually are (vidya), as opposed to the illusions with which you may so often identify. It is your past experiences, assumptions, and judgments that send you into a cycle of storytelling and unnecessary suffering.
For example, a person being five minutes late to your lunch meeting may just mean that that person is running behind, not that they devalue you and your time so much that you feel disrespected and resentful. It is far easier sometimes to jump to conclusions than to assume everyone’s innocence – at least at first. But with time, it gets easier to treat each person you meet with openness and without expectation.
5. Treat Every Day like It’s Your Birthday. You know how you wake up on your birthday and every experience is heightened and special? What would happen if you treated every day like that? Each meal became really magical because it was exactly what you were choosing to eat on your special day. You walked down the street with light in your heart and pep in your step because you knew that this day was an auspicious one in your life. You looked around and saw everything as a sign or a good omen that this would be your best year yet. When you meet the world with your arms (and mind) wide open, it is likely to surprise you.
And at every turn, be curious. Approaching the world with a sense of authentic curiosity is one of the keystones of openness and beginner’s mind. Even if you feel out of practice and don’t know where to start, it’s still inside you.
August 07, 2020
The market has been gearing up for some form of stimulus bill to be passed this week. It’s been patient and resilient to any negative news. With the jobs numbers hitting, it’s likely that bulls will need another catalyst to keep pushing valuations.
That, of course, is likely a stimulus bill. Republicans in the Senate are trying to force stonewalling Democrats to come to the table by tomorrow on a bill. The tactic being used is a drop-dead date of today. If a bill isn’t passed, it may be more than the bill that drops dead today.
Now here’s the rest of the news:
Gold’s Hot Streak Has Legs to Continue to $3,500 (Or Higher)
Historically low interest rates may be the main driver behind the ascent, but these analysts point to a number of other reasons to suggest a longer run up.
The Dollar’s Ongoing Fall From Grace Will Soon Catapult Precious Metals to Even Greater Heights
Alt-Market.com’s surveys the current economic landscape and makes an impassioned argument for all Americans to own gold and silver now.
Gold Breaks $2,000 — And Its Outlook Remains “Wildly Bullish”
Gold and silver have been on a remarkable run as of late, but this new policy shift from the Fed could send them to greater heights. “Silver expected to outperform gold.” —Weizhan Tan
Gold closed the week at $2,037.68 (+3.0%) and silver closed at $28.41 (+15.9%)
August 07, 2019
Doomsday Metric: Fossil Fuels
The lithium-ion battery, which is destined to power the bulk of the world’s road-going vehicle fleet by the middle of the century, has occasionally been referred to as the “successor to fossil fuel” or even the “next gasoline.”
Though that may be metaphorically true, the lithium-ion battery itself actually shares a common root with fossil fuel and the fossil fuel industry. In fact, the technology owes its very existence to one of the biggest oil companies in the world: Exxon. It was Stanley Whittingham, a young British chemist working at Exxon in the early 1970s, who first proposed the lithium-ion battery.
His early design was destined for failure for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which was the cost of one of the essential materials, titanium disulﬁde, which was selling for about $1,000 a kilogram at the time.
The battery itself consists of many layers and components, but by far the most important of them all, in terms of mass and cost production, is the cathode.
It is the development of and improvements to this structure that largely guide the performance of lithium-ion batteries, not just in terms of energy storage and longevity, but in the metric that’s most important both to the consumer and the producer: the cost.
Experts say there-will-be an eight-fold growth by 2024. Hope I’m here to see it! 😉
August 07, 2017
Have a stiff neck?
Not complaining, but me too.
This past month I was unfortunate enough to:
- break a tooth … it now requires a crown;
- scratch my left eye … I put drops in every few hours to reduce the “red itchy” blurry-vision; and
- “crack-my-neck” … making it very painful to lean [my neck] from side-to-side or turn it to look left or right.
You would think I was in a fight … AND LOST!
NO! Nothing so serious, just a misplaced-step.