We often think an expert has more to offer than a beginner, but if we want to expand the scope of our wonder and imagination, we should consider that a beginner has a bigger field of exploration!
The beginner’s mind is fresh and alive with wonder and excitement. The expert’s mind is often dulled by experience and preconceived ideas of what can and will be.
The Zen master Nan-in received a western university professor who called to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea.
He poured his visitor’s cup full, then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he could no longer restrain himself.
“It is overfull! No more will go in,” he cried.
“Like this cup,” Nan-in said,
“you are full of your own opinions and speculations.
How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”~ from the book Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, By Paul Reps
Think outside the box for a change.
I am reminded of a conversation with a colleague some time ago and I suggested thinking outside the box. My colleague said, “what does that mean?”
So, for definition, to think outside the box is to think without preconceived ideas or prior knowledge of the subject. To approach the task with a fresh perspective, a beginner’s mind ~ nothing is discounted or summarily rejected, nothing is considered unworthy of consideration or exploration.
This concept may be a little scary for those who prefer things to be well-defined and ordered, or controlled. Some people are overwhelmed by too many options and possibilities. They like knowing what to expect all the time. They like having limitations and boundaries. They are fearful of the unknown and withdraw from adventurous experiences.
However, an adventurous spirit and a bit of fearlessness is necessary to break new ground, to go to places you have never been, to see what lies beyond the borders of your experience.
To stimulate and add new levels of excitement to your life, you have to shake things up a bit, get outside your comfort zone. Consider letting go of your attachments to prior experience or knowledge and take a few small steps with an adventurous and fearless approach. Life begins anew with the freshness and child-like innocence of a beginner.