Beginner’s Mind

Zen Buddhism encourages adopting a beginner’s mind.  Supposedly this mindset is the gateway to true peace, creativity, and wisdom.  

The Christian tradition speaks of following children.  Apparently, becoming like a child is the best way to encounter the Living God.  

On paper, I love both of these concepts.  On paper, I aspire to them.  Praise them.  Embrace them.

In practice, not so much.  

In practice, adopting a beginner’s mind, often means stumbling and fumbling…a lot.  Becoming like a child often entails admitting my own lack of knowing; asking a lot of questions; and trusting myself and God that the outcome will be good enough.  This practice is not easy or fun for the recovering perfectionist.

Malcom Gladwell believes it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a “master” of any discipline.  If one seeks to become a master at beginning, that is a lot of falling down!  That is a lot of fumbling and faltering.  Think of the skinned knees and bruised pride.  

As I settle into the wilderness and begin my tent-making as a barista, I know I have the divine opportunity to practice this discipline.  On paper, I’m delighted.  In practice, my knees are a little sore already.


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