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Beginner's Mind

“Zen teacher Blanche Hartman defines beginner’s mind as a mind that faces life like a small child, full of curiosity and wonder and amazement. It is a mind that is not already made up, but rather one that meets experience without expectation and preconception.”

Let our life’s mission be to retain our beginner’s mind.

When a kindergarten class is asked who in it is creative, every child will raise his tiny hand.

When that same class is asked as high school students, it will be the rare young person who will still put his hand into the air.

Were they mistaken as children, falsely believing they were creative in some way?

Were they creative then but it was somehow lost over time?

I believe neither is true. I believe they became close minded. Adults in their world likely contributed to that development. In an effort to become all that was expected of them as they grew into young adults through rigid academics and competitive sports teams, wonder and amazement took a back seat.

I believe creativity is a much a part of the human experience and as important to life as breathing….because creativity draws out the essence of the human being. Creativity is unique to each person and it flows from his soul. Closing that spigot is unnatural and as harmful as smoking -- tainting our breath, suffocating us.

Julia Cameron in her book, The Artist’s Way, says art is born from paying attention. An artist SEES. He sees and experiences every detail of his world. The artist, musician, writer, sculptor looks at the world around him like a small child, full of curiosity and wonder and amazement. It is this expansiveness and open mindedness that gives birth to art. Julia says the worst you can say of a man is that he didn’t pay attention.

A child sees without prejudice or judgment.

My husband recently wondered what our sons thought when they first saw snow falling from the sky. I only remember their joy at seeing snow and wanting to get right out into it and play. They were not afraid or cold or angry that the winter season was upon us….they saw their opportunity for endless play, full of curiosity and wonder.

Let’s resolve to preserve our beginner’s mind.

Prompt taken from: Kenison, Katrina. Magical Journey.

New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2013, p. 44

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