Showing up with a Beginner’s Mind

Written by: Jennifer Schidlow
Beginner’s mind or “Shoshin” is the Zen Buddhist concept of releasing expectations and preconceived notions about something. The idea is to see things with an open mind just like a beginner. And, ideally, showing up with a beginners mind will help us to cultivate more awe and curiosity in our lives.
Here are some of the ways I use this concept to deepen my informal mindfulness practice:

  • Workshops/Classes – This includes yoga, meditation, and even in more academic settings. It’s amazing what you’ll learn when you step out of judgement and into curiosity. And I find that this applies regardless of your role in the class – teacher and student alike can benefit from a beginner’s mind.
  • Job Interviews – It’s so natural to feel anxious in an interview setting. Shifting into a beginner’s mindset helps to generate a more peaceful interest about the position and your potential new employer.
  • Family Gatherings – Dropping the preconceived ideas I have about family proves to be really tough for me! The labels and judgments about my family members go waaay back. Showing up with a beginner’s mind is such a beautiful gesture of kindness towards the people I am closest to.
  • Dinner – With two young children, two small dogs, two working parents, and the busyness of life in the neurotic northeast, our dinners are far from exotic. We tend to keep things pretty simple at mealtime. When I show up to the meal with a beginner’s mind, it helps me to truly notice the textures, smells, tastes and sight of the food. Even the mundane seems new and full of wonder!

Beginner’s mind is certainly something that we practice in a formal, seated meditation. And as you can see, there many informal ways to apply this concept as well. Where can you show up with a beginner’s mind today?