• Jim Gillette

The Beginner is Open to Many Possibilities

Updated: Oct 19, 2018


There is an interesting statement “I've never learned anything that I already knew”. It's one of those sayings that can stop you in your tracks and cause you to pause. For me, after thinking “gosh, that's true” I related it to the idea of "beginners mind". This is a concept that encourages openness and readiness to learn throughout our lives. If you can do this, you may be less comfortable, but you will be more creative, resourceful, and generative. Instead of just reinforcing a self-concept that has been built for self-esteem and security, to move ahead, you have to actually let go. It may feel counter intuitive. But if you can hold what you believe to be true a little looser and be willing to try on new assumptions, then you're ready to grow, learn, and expand.


The beginner's mind is one of possibility. There are benefits of certainty and expertness, but the confidence that comes with that has two sides. Certainty and expertness feel good. But they also may limit you. Don't deny or give up what you already have developed or know, but don't think that's the end of the story. Experiment a little with uncertainty, particularly in areas where you are sure you have it right. If you are really ready to grow in a transformational way, then you have to have some ways of regaining an innocence and openness to change.


There is a confidence in knowing. However, in the openness of unknowing, there is a receptive alertness that can take you forward. You can actually become stronger, more competent, and more complete by giving up the certainty of any of these things. Try to develop a practice of pausing. Try to become still, and feel yourself in a sense of presence. This can have a quality of listening or receptiveness. This is one way of describing one who is ready to grow and find new solutions. All who have achieved mastery describe their own version of beginner's mind. Breakthroughs and revelations occur when we are not locked into what we think we already know.


A beginner's mind brings rewards

You may have a daily practice like meditation or you may have mental practices that you use to be open and receptive to new creative solutions and pathways. However you do it, remember to pause and experience the receptive presence within you to grow and expand in your own unique, authentic way.

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