Shoshin is a Zen Buddhist term meaning "beginner's mind." It is an attitude of openness, eagerness, and freedom from preconceptions. It is a way of approaching life with a fresh perspective, even if you are already an expert in your field, just like a child or an absolute beginner.
No one knows the secret or the meaning to life, not even The Buddha. We are all just doing the best we know how given our history, conditioning and circumstances. However, there is a trick that Buddhists’ know about that enables us to experience life with the renewed awe and wonder as a child. If you feel sluggish, stuck in a rut or that you’ve become that dull person that takes themselves too seriously then this is a trick that you need to know about and start practicing in your own life.
Here are my 10 cents worth of understanding, with a nod to Buddhism, as to how to get yourself unstuck and start again with a Beginner’s Mind this spring…
But first, if you have not read our last blog and done the Golden Words practise, pause here and go do that now.
Now, with the weeds clear we have fertile ground to sew some seeds. Finish this sentence 5-10 times without thinking too hard about it – go!
If I weren’t so __________ I would love to try __________.
This little exercise is going to give you a hint of some things that you yearn to do but continue to refrain from trying it out. Now is the right time of year (in fact, any time is the right time but because now is now then now is the right time) to conjure up ideas about where you want to go, who you want to be and what you want to do. It does not have to be life changing or mind blowing, it is best to start small. It is even better just to start something, anything, because starting something new is never a waste of time.
Why are we so stuck and how can we break on through? Keep it simple. We do not need endless options, we just need to know that we have a choice. When we give ourselves two choices, it is much easier to make a decision, to choose left or right. We are not stuck. Invest your time and energy wholeheartedly into one stream rather than half-heartedly into multiple rivulets. Better yet, do nothing, reserve your energy, give yourself a resting period. The key factor is to give it a boundary, a time limit, at the end of which you take action.
Start one thing, anything and commit to it, for a limited time. Once you take the first step, removing one obstacle, the momentum of flow does the rest. Your potential expands with the first step, you cannot know what you are capable of until you try. This applies even to those of us who have tried many things, many times, have not sustained it and have been scarred, feeling flat and discouraged to try again. You must be brave and vulnerable; you must start again. Keep it simple, for a limited time and just do it.
Regret comes from not doing, rather than trying and “failing”. There is no such thing as failure, only the richness of life experiences and wisdom to be gained.
Listen to our latest meditation SHOSHIN to support with your ability to see from a fresh perspective and start something new this spring. This blog and meditation was inspired by the majestic song of the tūī, the tranquility of endless falling rain and this Psyche article How to cultivate a beginners mind.