We're All A Bunch Of Newbies With A Beginner's Mind | Be F-ing Awesome Today google4228e52aa5dfebc8.html

We’re All A Bunch Of Newbies With A Beginner’s Mind

beginners mind life buddha zen quote.jpg

NOTE: This is the beginning of a new series I’m calling…WHINE WITH BUDDHA: Searching for the twisted path to enlightenment without a map. beginners mind life

Okay, I’m working on the tag line. Leave your suggestions in the comments. beginners mind life

But you get the idea. We’re all a bunch of screw-ups just trying to get by, to find some meaning in day to day life, and make it to the end before we begin again.

Whenever it appears that the sky is falling down my husband and I say to each other: “This, or something better.” It’s a small statement that goes beyond this too shall pass.

When we learned of his late stage cancer those words became our ‘put up or shut up’ bumper sticker. Our corner of the Earth shook and it sure felt like the world would collapse under our feet. We knew what “this” felt like. And we didn’t like it. “Something better” offered strength and hope. A new beginning.

Life is a funny experiment.

You work hard towards a goal — relationships, careers, getting in shape, building a pension, etc. — only to see them end. Sometimes you feel it coming. There are warning signs, little glimpses that something’s not quite right here. Other times you’re blindsided. Left speechless, hurt or broken into a thousand little pieces.

And then you have no choice. You must start again as a newbie.

“It’s hard to believe this when you’re in a hell world,
but the end of one thing makes room
for the beginning of something else.”

Stephanie DelTorchio

With a new set of rules. A different outlook. Some baggage and a ‘history’.

The simple practice of seeing life with a beginner’s mind is lifted here from Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind.

What is beginner’s mind?

It’s letting go of our expectations and preconceived ideas about how something should be, and seeing things with an open mind, fresh eyes, just like a newbie.

A newbie way of thinking is not unlike a child’s mind — curious, testing, open, in awe of the simple, documenting wonder at every turn.

But imagine if you could apply this way of thinking to every new relationship, job, event or simple activity.

For example, say you take a morning walk, Try this:

Today start by seeing the activity with a fresh perspective. The neighbor who gets his newspaper at the end of the driveway as you pass by. Notice the details around him. The limp you never noticed as he walks towards the door, the cat waiting for him on the stoop, the moss growing from his failing retaining wall.

Use all your senses. Note the smells and the textures of things you pass every day but never paid much attention to.

Why It Changes You For The Better

The practice of beginner’s mind transforms any activity. beginners mind life

New experiences beginners mind life

You’re open to learning something new. You leave behind prejudgments, preconceptions and fantasies about what it should be or assumptions about how you already know it will be. It alleviates any disappointment or frustration when things go a different way — and they always go a different way. The new experience affords a fresh perspective that should change you.

Enhanced relationships beginners mind life

Instead of thinking two steps ahead in a conversation, try listening to the person speaking in front of your face. This person is just trying to get from Monday to Friday like you. Wanting to be happy and safe and secure, like you. Your paying attention will enhance your relationship with them. Maybe for the first time you see something on their face — a struggle, or, yes, crazy eyes — that meet, or don’t meet, your ideal.  This transforms your relationship with the person.

You’ll get shit done

Edward Young said “Procrastination is the thief of time.” For any task look at it with the beginner’s mind instead of worrying about how hard the task will be or how you might fail at it. Take note of all the details when doing the task. Do them one by one without looking ahead. Amaze yourself at what you’ll accomplish.

Anxiety decreases

Instead of worrying about what might happen, open yourself up to being curious about what will happen. Don’t stress about the possible outcomes. Be a little bit brave and embrace not knowing. Practice being present. Embrace each moment for what you’re doing (or eating or drinking!) and who you’re meeting.

Allow yourself to be more flexible, open, curious, grateful, present. Practicing beginner’s mind can transform any mundane or repetitive activity into something exciting.

How To Practice beginners mind life beginners mind life

Of course you can’t snap your fingers and experience an instant change of mind. You’re a beginner. They call it practice for a reason.

Meditation, prayer, running, gardening — whatever calms and sets your mind — is a good first step to practicing a beginner’s mind. I choose the shower. It’s where many of my writing ideas take place and many problems are solved.

Remember, this is practice. Do it with a smile and with an open heart. See everything as if for the first time. Express gratitude. Know that things will change. You’ll make progress.

You’re assigned to this life as a beginner. And no matter how many years you are blessed to trudge through you will never master the art of winning at this life.

Good things will happen, bad things will happen. Both are inevitable.

Since that is the beginning and end of your story, take note my dear friend. What you do from beginning to beginning is the legacy you leave here. Begin. Again and again if you must. Just don’t expect to end any closer to the end. It’s just another beginning.

“This or something better” okay you guys?


Other posts you might like:

Real Life Moves Up and Down

Believe In Second Chance Love

Original quote and  graphic: Stephanie DelTorchio





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