You’re Never Too Late to Be a Beginner

There are times when we know so much about something that it actually gets in the way of our learning and growth. Being full of facts, figures or opinions doesn’t leave room for much else. You can give yourself a great gift by setting down what you know and opening to the experience of ‘not knowing’.

In Zen Buddhism this is considered “beginner’s mind”. It means that instead of coming to a subject with preconceived ideas, we come with an open and enthusiastic attitude, as a beginner would. It’s a powerful way of giving yourself a fresh perspective.

There is a Zen story that’s helps illustrate this point called, ” Empty Your Cup.” A knowledgeable professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked and talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim…and then kept pouring.

The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “Stop! It’s full, no more will go in!” the professor blurted. “Yes,” said the master, “You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.”

There is a feeling of relief that comes with emptying our cups and adopting a beginner’s mind. We don’t need to know everything, or anything for that matter. We can be a student in every new moment. We have nothing to prove, we are just simply willing to see what unfolds and experience it with as much loving objectivity as is humanly possible.

Listen to the Spiritual Message

Slides from the talk

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