A Beginner’s Mind

How was your weekend? I hope you had a wonderful weekend with love, peace and inspiration. For me, I had a nostalgic weekend; I took a ride on a Double-Decker bus. For some of you, a Double-Decker bus ride may be the norm for you everyday; commuting from places to places. Did you enjoy your ride? Or the ride today was just like any other day?

Back in 1995 – July 1997, taking the Double-Decker bus ride was the norm for me almost everyday. I would need to ride for almost an hour from my home to my camp and then another hour ride from my camp to home. I did that for almost everyday. However, I was always looking forward to the bus ride and to seeing the special someone every morning.

That is not the point. My nostalgic weekend has nothing to do with the girl I saw during the bus ride but the bus ride itself. When I was even younger, I was a loner. I did not like to mix with people and I did not have many friends too. I love taking bus. Almost every other weekend, I would go on hours of bus ride. It was always exciting to go on a bus ride.

Sometimes it was a ride to the airport where I would stay for awhile at the departure hall to looked at the planes taking off or landing. Sometimes I would take a bus ride to the beach where I would cycle to a quiet location and sat there for an hour or two. Almost everywhere I went, I took the bus.

Slowly I became sort of an ‘expert’ in bus taking but gradually a bus ride also became just a bus ride to get me from point A to point B.

In the book ‘Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind,’ by Shunryu Suzuki it states:

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.

In the book, it suggests that the beginner’s mind is an empty mind which is always ready for anything; it is open to everything. On the other hand, the expert’s mind is one which thought that it had attained something and thus limited.

Thus the book suggests that we always keep our beginner’s mind. I did not really understand the full meaning of it until I boarded a Double-Decker bus on my way to meet up my friends. It was just another bus ride but when I got on the upper deck of the bus and sat down, I was brought back to my younger days of bus taking. Suddenly the bus ride became exciting and a ‘new’ experience. I was immersing in the view from the window.

For a while the possibilities seemed unlimited; new roads, buildings and places were discovered during the ride. The beginner’s mind at work. Same old bus ride but approached with a beginner’s mind brought new perspectives, experiences and excitements.

When we went through something repetitively, eventually it would lose the ‘freshness’ factor. Has it? Or in the process, we have acquired the attitude that ‘I knew it all already.’ It is easier to have a beginner’s mind with new things or people. The challenge is keeping it going; always having a beginner’s mind.

Photo from Wikipedia
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Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

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12 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Mind

  1. Mark

    Having a beginners mind is a very important lesson. I love having fresh eyes for we see that which we may have missed. We must never become so full as to be an expert.
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..The Long View =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Mark, I agree with you. Fresh eyes give us a chance to catch what we may have missed. Becoming so full as to be an expert may actually become an obstacle for progress more than it can help us.

      @ Meleah, glad that you had a pretty great weekend.

  2. Hilary

    Hi BK .. double decker buses .. magic as you’re so high and can see round and about – the crocuses in Hyde Park now – just beautiful spread of yellow, blue, orange and purple glowing in the warming sun.

    Opportunites and ideas are all around us .. keeping our minds open as we follow our path – new ideas will pop into our minds .. jot them down and see if they can help giving you another lane of newness.

    Have a good new Spring .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Who would have thought Barbary Apes would be eating our greens? =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Brooke, exactly. We tend to overlook things when we become too accustomed to somethings. It becomes mechanical and loses excitement. What you do is important, in taking the time to savour routine moments.

      @ Hilary, good idea to jot down new ideas that pop into our minds. We do need to keep a pen and pad with us; we just never know when an idea will pop up.

  3. jacqueline

    Such a wonderful-bring-back-memories post for me. 🙂 I went to school in singapore and i do remember these Double-Decker bus rides. I lvoe this quote and thanks for sharing it here with us. I need to be remindered of keeping a beginner’s mind. Have a lovely merry happy week and love ot you!
    .-= jacqueline´s last blog ..neat-o =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ One of the Guys, indeed, that reminds me of a quotation by Confucius, “To know that you don’t know is the beginning of knowing.” I think we all should look at things from a beginner’s view point.

      @ Jacqueline, I’m glad that this brought back some memories for you too. Have a lovely merry happy week and love to you too. 🙂

  4. Gabriele

    All children have a beginners mind. That’s why everything learned at a young age sticks best.
    Unfortunately there is a bad side to this coin.
    Negative experiences which stain beginners minds are hard to wipe out. More so, as they bury themselves in the subconscious part of the brain.

    Also, people who are not brain washed by any media will see the world with the mind of a new-comer. They see everything fresh along their own lines of perception. This makes their experiences very valuable.
    .-= Gabriele´s last blog ..Apr 11, La Longuera Los Realejos, its shops, Tenerife business and traffic =-.

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Gabriele, I agree with you that children have a beginner’s mind as they are able to see the world with untainted eyes. As they grow, their eyes will be tainted by our up-bringing as well as by other people and media around them and eventually they become very much like ourselves. We all have to learn to see things from a fresh point of view so that new experiences and perspectives can come upon us.

  5. Ben

    I really like that concept of a mind ready for anything. In Psychology they call it “Tabula Rasa” which is Latin for “blank slate.” It refers to the young mind as well, always ready for anything, impressionable and eager to explore. It would be nice to retain that sense even when old. I like your perspective!

    1. Symphony of Love Post author

      @ Ben, thank you for sharing that Psychology’s Term ‘Tabula Rasa’ with me. It is certainly nice to see things with a fresh perspective every time. It will do away with the many stereotypes which exist today.