Over the past few weeks, I’ve been noticing a bit of finality and fatalism in the conversations that I’ve been hearing. I kept hearing “nevers” and “it will never be the sames” and so on. At first I wanted to dismantle the absurdity of such statements with a cool dose of “how do you know?” Seriously, I thought, if you know so much about the future, can you tell me about next week’s Mega Millions?
Then I realized that I do the same thing in conversations with myself and others: predicting fate with a certainty reserved for oracles. How do I know? Why must I always know? The antidote for that is today’s challenge.
Today’s challenge: Adopt a beginner’s mind. Give up the arrogance that you already know. Give up your view that you know everything and that your view of life is the only way that it is.
When you already ready know, there really is no room for anything new. If you want to create anything new, there needs to be space. The following story illustrates this:
A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s overfull! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”
Since I am committed to building a life unlike anything I have already seen, Beginner’s Mind helps. This is simply giving up being right. It takes rightness to a place of cluelessness–a place where knowledge can be developed and acquired, not assumed or dug up. Such thinking entails the ability to encounter fresh experiences with the innocence of first inquiry. Here are some characteristics of Beginner’s Mind:
Beginner’s Mind is curious, flexible and more committed to questions than answers. Its delight is in wondering and it is willing to try out new possibilities without being stuck. Amazement, wonder and awe are the realm of Beginner’s Mind. When we adopt a mind that doesn’t know, we are open to unlimited possibilities and we discover that
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be enjoyed. — Unknown
A Beginner’s Mind creates a new twist in this journey for me. Anything and everything is possible.
Today’s victory: I was doing great today and then I wasn’t. I’d put ego aside and I was so wonderful and then something set me off. All I need to throw a wrench in these days of challenges is a conversation or two with people. It’s very easy to be gracious while sitting in front of my computer. It’s another ballgame when I take those challenges and involve people and their opinions and button-pushing. Today’s victory was simply doing everything in my power to remain committed to my challenges. I did not give up on the conversation. I was able to step back and observe my reactions, ask for a time out and jump back in and try again. In the end, I was rewarded with peace and all is well. Now that is the little victory that could.
Gratitude: I am grateful for each day I awake with the mistakes of the past solidly lodged in the past, facing a brand new blank canvas awaiting my creation.
On the horizon: Compassion