Original Mind: A Zen practice for greater beauty and flow every day

"In beginner’s mind we have many possibilities, but in expert mind there is not much possibility. So in our practice it is important to resume to our original mind, or inmost mind, which we, ourselves -- even we, ourselves do not know what it is. - Zen master Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, Beginner's Mind lecture, 1965

Beginner's Mind

Beginners mind -- original mind -- is a daily practice, a way of approaching life. Since adopting this practice I've found it helps me experience a more joyful, fulfilling and fluid experience of life...more ease and flow in each moment of the day. The concept is known in Zen Buddhism as shoshin.

Shoshin enables a tangible sense of wonder and a deeper connection to my spirit as I go about daily work and life. This state of mind offers a rich foundation for living in alignment with my spirit, and being more effective in helping others have more fulfillment and ease in their own lives and goals.

Original mind is a practice along these lines:

  • Approach every interaction, every encounter, each undertaking, with an open mind of innocence.
  • Expect only the best, or better yet -- expect nothing, and be open to anything.
  • See every engagement with joyful innocence -- the playfulness and simplicity of a child.
  • When your mind starts to intellectualize your experience -- to evaluate and correlate -- simply let those thoughts go and drop into the experience.
  • Sit or lie in stillness regularly. Do nothing. Follow your breath and allow yourself to be filled with the essence of your being.

This open beginner's mind is a fundamental practice of the Fire of Love process.

Allow the bigness of your true essence to grow and run its own course in your every day experience. Then maybe your highly intelligent and over-involved mind can get some much needed rest. When your innate natural intelligence can meet in a place of balance with your knowledge and life experience -- this is a beautiful balance.

Reboot your mind regularly with a good meditation practice, find ways to be inspired and refresh your experience to see things with new eyes.

Cultivating original mind is also allowing yourself the space to not know. A student with an open mind does not necessarily understand the meaning, or the cause and effect, of every action and experience. Then she can learn. She is teachable. Softer. It is hard to teach an expert.

As soon as you see something, you already start to intellectualize it. As soon as you intellectualize something, it is no longer what you saw. - Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (1905 - 1971)


This is one of a new series of posts from Peru about my experience testing the Fire of Love approach to life and work. To receive these updates in your inbox, please click here to join the Flow community of email readers. Aho!