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The Beginner's Mind

Posted Sep 11 2008 8:00pm
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's there are few."
-Suzuki Roshi
Krista led the first Moms and Babes yoga class on Friday. Each of the moms pictured above, attended our Prenatal Yoga classes until the birth of their children. The mothers and babies (left to right) are: Alissa and Tessa, Joy and Bruein, Megan and Ruby, Krista and James, Misty and Jonathan.

Bruein is the only walker (more like runner) for now. They are all healthy, eager and curious little babes. The physical world is so new to them that everything is worth grabbing and inspecting, with all of their senses. They possess the true beginner's mind.

Somewhere along life's time-line, we lose that innocent, questioning mind as we strive to become "the one who knows", the expert of life. Abbess Zenkei Blanche Hartman cautions us:

We all want to be the one who knows. But if we decide we "know" something, we are not open to other possibilities anymore. And that's a shame. We lose something very vital in our life when it's more important to us to be "one who knows" than it is to be awake to what's happening. We get disappointed because we expect one thing, and it doesn't happen quite like that. Or we think something ought to be like this, and it turns out different. Instead of saying, "Oh, isn't that interesting," we say, "Yuck, not what I thought it would be." Pity. The very nature of beginner's mind is not knowing in a certain way, not being an expert.

Growth and changes are visibly apparent in newborns and so the world readily accepts their daily advances. Adults are expected to be 'full grown' and mature so perhaps that's why we conform to a static image.

Congratulations to Krista for beginning this new class and for not being an expert yoga teacher or mother. Hurray also, to the new moms who maintain a beginner's mind and revel in the possibilities of yoga, their children and themselves.

Beginner's Mind, a lecture by Abbess Zenkei Blanche Hartman.

A Beginner's Mind, a business version found in an article by Richard Watson for Fast Co. Magazine.

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