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beginner's mind

vito_excalibur posted about "beginner's mind" as it applies to Aikido, and explained very eloquently that "beginner's mind" is overrated. I posted the following comment in response:
I agree.

But here's what I think is good about beginner's mind: the thrill of gaining a completely new skill, feeling what might be called "romantic passion" for the new pursuit, feeling your brain fill up with knowledge, feeling your muscles click into new patterns. Waking up after a frustrating time struggling with a new skill and discovering that a bunch of stuff seeped in while you were asleep and now it's much easier.

Insofar as someone praises beginner's mind, perhaps they are in part praising that enthusiasm.

I feel so much thrill when I am learning something new that I tend to hop from one interest to another rather than settling down and learning the intermediate or advanced aspects, at times.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
wild_irises
Jul. 14th, 2004 04:48 pm (UTC)
The original poster's definition of "beginner's mind" is different from mine, and I have no idea how close mine is to anything traditional. I think of beginner's mind not so much as the blank slate that the original poster (and you) are talking about, but as the ability to leave preconceptions and learned behaviors behind when doing something you already know something about. Is this a completely idiosyncratic-to-me definition?
firecat
Jul. 14th, 2004 04:59 pm (UTC)
When I read Suzuki's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, I got the impression he was defining beginner's mind as "a mind relatively free of preconceptions and very open to new experience," and I also got the impression that he thought such a mindset might occur in someone who is actually a beginner or in someone who already has some knowledge/practice.

So...I guess my impression is that his definition was somewhere in between mine and yours.

I don't know to what extent Suzuki's definition is traditional.
zyxwvut
Jul. 14th, 2004 05:09 pm (UTC)
Huh.
I saw his post to aikido. Didn't know he was a friend of yours.

Z

P.S.: I think there are elements of truth to what he said, and there are also parts with which I disagree.

firecat
Jul. 14th, 2004 10:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Huh.
"It's a small LJ after all..."

oh well, that doesn't scan.

I'd be curious to know what you agree and disagree with.
vito_excalibur
Jul. 14th, 2004 06:32 pm (UTC)
Insofar as someone praises beginner's mind, perhaps they are in part praising that enthusiasm.

I feel so much thrill when I am learning something new that I tend to hop from one interest to another rather than settling down and learning the intermediate or advanced aspects, at times.


That makes sense.

I'm not a teacher, so what was interesting for me was the rare opportunity to literally observe, right in front of me, someone be an absolute beginner at something challenging. And it struck me as being v. different from what sensei was describing as the "beginner's mind." And not nearly as enjoyable or useful.

I liked what m00nglum had to say about it in my comments, tho.
anmorata
Jul. 14th, 2004 09:30 pm (UTC)
Hello from a Wombat that's just browsing about late at night. :)
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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