The term beginner’s mind is usually associated with Zen teaching, but I couldn’t help but think of a beginner’s mind according to Jesus.
I love this quote from Suzuki Roshi, “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
This quote reminded me of the teachings of Jesus, particularly this passage: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4
Children Naturally Practice Beginner’s Mind
Give a piece of paper to an adult and it is most likely to remain a piece of paper. Give a piece of paper to a child and they will most likely make it into something; an airplane or tear it into pieces and make a puzzle.
Children use their imaginations. They haven’t been conditioned to not try something because they are afraid of failing or what others will think. They haven’t learned to constantly judge themselves.
Children approach the world with wonder and possibilities.
A Beginner’s Mind and Possibilities
Jesus said, “For truly I tell you. If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
Truly I tell you, I have a hard time believing that I can move a mountain. Which is why I haven’t moved any mountains. But, if I were to look back on my accomplishments, there were some metaphorical mountains I have moved.
It’s much easier, however, for me to go down the self-doubt road and allow myself to think of something being impossible. I close my mind to having a beginner’s mind. What I need to, instead, is to allow myself to venture down the possible road taking baby steps at a time.
How to Embrace a Beginner’s Mind According to Jesus
I love this Message version of the Bible in which Jesus says, “If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.” Matthew 10:39
In a demanding world of paying the bills just to survive or to work hard in order to keep up with the Joneses, we can lose ourselves and lose sight of Jesus, the source of our peace and direction.
This world-wide pandemic has been a huge disrupter in our personal world and the world at large. It is forcing us all to be beginners.
The term “business as usual” is not possible.
Be a Beginner by Going Back to the Beginning
Julie Andrews sang, “Let’s start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.”
In Genesis chapter one it says, “In the beginning it was good.”
If you are out of work and your job may not come back, can you learn a new skill?
If this disruption has brought you front and center with a call that God has put on your heart, how can you pursue it?
Jane Pauley, a popular US broadcaster who hosted The Today Show and now Hosts CBS Sunday Morning, wrote a book about people starting new careers in their 50’s and 60’s. Your Life Calling – Reimagining the Rest of Your Life is the name. It came out in 2014.
She had been off the air for a long time only to return to the NBC network with a new show. Her husband sent her flowers on her first day back with the inscription: “Congratulations on your return to where it all began.”
This is one of my favorite lines ever in any book I’ve read. As a response to the card, she wrote the following. Coming full circle is very different from going back to square one.
Every experience you have ever had has equipped you to grow. And when you go back to the beginning, you will find that child-like expectancy you had before any judgments or setback knocked you down. You are not starting at square one.
The Begin Word from God Notes
The God Note Begin was appropriate:
Begin your day with Me. I will fill your thoughts with peace and promise.
Life’s demands drive you into a state of overwhelm where you won’t know where to begin.
Thought of fear or unworthiness can keep you from moving forward towards your dreams. You can easily become stuck.
Whatever you seek, begin.
Begin to trust in Me.
Begin to trust others to help you.
Begin to trust yourself.
Don’t worry about the outcome. (God Notes – Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement.)
Begin again and again and your life will be filled with peace, purpose, and contentment.
Embrace a Beginner’s Mind and Begin Today
You have the power to move mountains with the faith of a mustard seed and the open mind of a child.
What will you begin? I’d love for you the let me know in the comment section below.
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