“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities,
but in the expert’s there are few.” Shunryu Suzuki
A beginner’s mind is a beautiful thing as teacher training gets underway this month at Renew Yoga School, I am reminded how important it is to keep and cultivate my beginner’s mind. This is our 3rd class of teachers and I can’t wait to begin. I learned very early on in my education as a yoga teacher that a beginner’s mind is always the goal and the true key to mastery. It’s very easy once you have been doing something for a while or a long time to begin to enter the stage of expert. This is a dangerous trap! We have all been there at one time or another, we have been doing something for a while and we think we know it all or if not all – a heck of a lot! Suddenly, we get humbled by a situation or experience that reminds us that we don’t even know what we don’t know and hence we begin again and learn! It’s the humility of always approaching each experience/situation as a beginner, knowing that you don’t know it all that is the key to mastery.
Trying or learning something new is hard! And the older we get, the more challenging this can become. A beginner’s mind means to be curious and investigate without judgement. It means taking on a new challenge, a new process of learning or understanding and letting yourself fumble around until it sticks. One of my favorite yoga teachers, Alyssa Sullivan, a master yoga teacher whom has helped us with our first two teacher trainings, often says “You are going to be uncomfortable until you’re not, it’s going to be awkward until it’s not.” What matters most is that we observe our actions and reactions to the process, that we remind ourselves that we are a beginner and what should come with that is instant forgiveness, compassion and most of all, a curiosity to face our fears and keep learning.
What is the last thing you tried in life, where you had the opportunity to learn something completely new and be a true beginner?