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Beginner’s Mind Philosophy
Imagine the joy of rediscovering chocolate every time you eat it.
Seeing the ocean for the first time, hearing a new song, or discovering the taste of a new food: each of these is an adventure. People usually approach a brand-new activity without excessive pre-judgment, thus allowing themselves a full experience. The strategy behind Beginner’s Mind Philosophy, known in Japanese as Shoshin, is to bring that sense of eager anticipation to all of life’s experiences, whether they are new or well known.
Beginner’s Mind need not be limited only to those who practice Zen. For anyone who wants to savor life more fully, approaching everyday activities with an open mind can reveal their hidden delights. Beginner’s Mind stresses the importance of keeping one’s original attitude towards the experiences of life. In order to maintain genuine enthusiasm, even during the most mundane situations, it is important to be fully present and in the moment. Try just breathing naturally for a few moments, with no thought to how, or why, or for how long. Notice each breath for its own sake, and how your body and your mind responds to it. Then try to take this awareness into everyday life, so that each experience is fresh and new.
Beginner’s Mind may not be an easy philosophy to grasp or to practice right away. It can be difficult to let go of long-held opinions and beliefs. If you accept that every situation is new to you right now, you’ll have fewer pre-conceived notions.
When you’ve mastered being in the moment, all experiences are new ones. Even if you’ve surfed for twenty years, with a beginner’s mind, every ride is the first.