‘The security that our judgments, images, and concepts appear to offer is that they convince us that there is no need to change our inner world of opinions, reactions and conclusions. If we are fully convinced that someone is irritating, frustrating, and annoying, we feel fully justified in our irritation, annoyance and frustration. In the security of that justification we may feel no need to cultivate deeper levels of patience, acceptance, and kindness in our own heart. The “irritant” is judged, banished, and frozen through our concepts, and we do not feel called upon to cultivate a new beginning in our relationship with them. If I know something to be boring, worthless, or mundane, I may feel no need to explore what difference wholehearted attention would make. If I convince myself that I am wounded, powerless, or inadequate, and accept this inner description, it is unlikely that I will feel a powerful yearning for freedom or wholeness.
Learning to dive beneath our concepts, conclusions, and assumptions, we learn to live with respect, reverence, and a divine curiosity. We find the wisdom to acknowledge that “knowing” is not always the same as wisdom and we open the doors of our heart to new beginnings in each moment. Cultivating the kindness and compassion of total attention, moments of wonder and mystery find their way into our life. When nothing and no one is confined or imprisoned in any image, there emerges an acceptance and vastness of heart that embraces all things. The great poet, Kabir, wrote:
The blue sky stretches out, farther and farther,
The daily sense of failure recedes,
The damage I have done to myself fades,
A million suns come forth with light,
When I sit firmly in that world.
The beginner’s mind holds within it a generosity of heart that liberates us from the shackles of the self-images and conclusions that binds us endlessly to the wheels of the past. We are free to begin again, to understand ourselves deeply, and to be present. The beginner’s mind is a key not only to personal freedom – it also liberates the people in our life, the world, and each moment from the chains of our assumptions, “knowledge,” and ancient stories. The historical feuds, anger, and separation sustained by the fearful guarding of our judgments, begin to crumble before the generosity of the beginner’s mind. The beginner’s mind is the forgiving mind, listening, sensitive, and receptive.’ – Christina Feldman