“Beginner’s mind” is a zen phrase. It reminds us that when we first
took this path as beginners, we approached it almost with awe.
Self-conscious of knowing so little—knowing nothing, really—we were open
for seeing anything. Aware mostly of how unimportant our own little
knowledge was. But as we became much more experienced, even became
“expert,” it was different. We could separate useful from scrap, what we
judge is good from bad, so automatically we hardly needed to pause over
it. Our journey became a polished routine. And now we sometimes ask
ourselves, is it still a journey?
i was reminded of “beginner’s mind” all over again once, in a very
different context. Accidentally tuning past an ongoing discussion
between a few marxists and anarchists about the pros and cons of
leninism vs. “horizontal” spontaneity in revolutionary organization. It
was like people at a dinner party having a familiar argument across the
room from you. You can’t catch everything being said, but you know where
it’s going anyway.