By March 4, 2015 Read More →

ZenView – Beginner’s Mind

Mary Layton
Beginner’s Mind

In Martial Art Schools the term “Beginner’s Mind” is an important concept. It can be applied to any art form, music, cooking and sewing, etc. The idea is to give up feeling that you know everything already.

The mind of a beginner comes from not knowing, and is like an empty, receptive cup. Learning is easier because the mind is open and empty enough to see, listen and feel more deeply. Returning to “Beginner’s Mind” is a good idea. No matter how long you’ve been studying your art, no matter how much you know, retaining some of this mind set makes a difference in your progress. Even though you may have done, seen or heard things countless times, if you experience it as if it was your first time you may discover something new and significant that otherwise would have escaped you.

It’s a change in attitude that can give you a feeling of renewed hope and curiosity. But it’s not always easy to be a beginner either. Actually it takes courage. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable. I know this from studying T’ai Chi for a long time. Recently I signed up for an introduction to Watercolor Painting. I struggled with the simple task how to mix my color with water to obtain just the right value and then create9 slightly darker shades of the same color.

When I failed doing the assignment the teacher suggested to try again. At first I was frustrated. Then I remembered that I was a beginner and if I couldn’t make a mistake I wouldn’t be able to learn at all. Once I changed my attitude I could easily do the assignment.

The saying ” You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” sums it up. Most people take pride in what they know and what they learnt. But one can get stuck there. That makes the “Beginner’s Mind” refreshing and desirable. It makes you feel that you are a young dog again that can learn new tricks.

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About the Author:

Mary Layton has practiced T'ai Chi for 35 years and co-founded T'ai Chi Ch'uan Academy of Modesto in1995. She and her partner have taught hundreds of students. Mary travels frequently to learn from her teacher Grand Master Kai Ying Tung. Interested in every aspect of health Mary likes to follow a natural path. She loves writing, painting, gardening, hiking and playing piano.