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Adopting a Beginner's Mind

Melli O'Brien



Melli O'Brien



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Adopting a Beginner's Mind

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Hi, and welcome to your Daily Mindfulness.

You know, we can so easily view

people, events and the world around

us through a veil of preconceived

notions, judgments, and opinions.

For instance, maybe you have an opinion

about someone and you, you know, put

them in a box, as the saying goes.

She's a hippie.

He's arrogant.

She's smart.

He's weird.

But if we hold on to these mental

labels, thinking that we know someone

through these mental judgments, you

know, we'll never truly meet them again.

We'll only see them through

the lens of our own viewpoints.

Similarly, we do the same thing with

places, events and even life itself.

And it's really important to

remind ourselves that whatever our

mental labels about things are.

That's all they really are,

mental labels about things.

Not reality, not the truth.

You know, to meet reality moment by moment

is to put aside the attachment to these

judgments and the idea that you already

know something and adopt the openness

and the freshness of a beginner's mind.

So there's a really

well-known story about this.


Uh, young man goes to see a Zen

master, but when he arrives at the

master's house, he launched into a

detailed explanation of everything

he already knew about Zen philosophy.

On and on and on he went.

And as this student was speaking,

the Zen master starts pouring tea.

He pours one cup for himself

and one cup for the visitor.

But as he pours the second cup, tea fills

to the brim of the cup and spills over

the edges onto the table, onto the floor.

And the student yells, "Stop pouring!"

The cup is already full.

"Yes, it is," replied the Master, "Unlike

this cup, you are already full of your

own opinions, viewpoints, and judgments.

You're not going to be able to

let any wisdom or understanding in

unless you first empty your cup."

So this story is a great illustration

about how we fill our minds with the

opinions and judgments and beliefs.

And when our minds are so full like that,

we can no longer see things clearly.

There's no space left for new

wisdom and understanding to emerge.

But we can train ourselves to bring a

beginner's mind into our daily life.

And perhaps most importantly, into

our relationships with others.

You know, when we put aside our

preconceived ideas about others

and meet them as they are in this

moment, we give them a great gift, the

gift of being truly seen and heard.

And this may be the

greatest gift we can give.

So maybe take a moment to contemplate

how would you like to possibly bring

this beginner's mind in your life today?

Maybe what notions, judgments and

opinions can you lay aside so you can

see what's happening more clearly?

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