The beginner’s mind

One of the things that I have come across many times during my meditation journey is the concept of “beginner’s mind.” In his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki writes, “If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.” This, to me, refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would. As we apply this concept to meditation, we can sit to meditate and have this quality of openness, this lack of preconceptions, of expectations. Being able to sit with an element of curiosity, allowing ourselves to be just the witness of what is going on within ourselves, at the mental and at the physical levels. When we can observe all our thoughts, all our emotions, all our feelings, little by little we start noticing more and more that there is a gap, there is a separation between the observer and what we observe. That is, in my opinion, a very fundamental step in getting to know a little bit how the mind functions. We can start noticing that all can be observed and that we have the option to getting or not getting involved with what we observe. At times that is easy, other times that might appear to be more difficult. However, if we allow ourselves to stay with this process of observation only, little by little we can develop the capacity to free ourselves more and more from the constant flux of thoughts that at times might lead our lives. And that is exactly what we want to keep doing when we sit to meditate, to keep nourishing this “Beginner’s mind”; open, not expecting anything, no preconceptions, allowing to see things as these arise and pass, just curios. If we allow it, the “beginner’s mind” can show us more than the “expert’s mind”.