Thursday, September 29, 2016

Re-inventing the wheel?

In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” 

Not many books on Zen have made the mark as much as Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. The message is simple and straight forward yet the instruction runs counter to our ordinary way of living. All of us aspire to becoming an expert and few indeed are those who think of themselves as a beginner. Our desire for being someone special works against such simplicity. And then we reason, if the solutions of yesterday worked then why not apply them again today. The answer ought to be self evident but alas it is not. The reason is that yesterday was yesterday and today is today. Nothing in life is a constant and as circumstances change the challenges change as well.

Change is inevitable and continuous. There is nothing spiritual or psychological about that. Change becomes a problem when we desire to make permanent what can never be permanent. Then it becomes like trying to bulwark tides with the consequent result of pulverizing us into sand. How we manage change in our lives determines the quality we create and experience. All of us want goodness and resist adversity. That is the natural way but neither of these remains permanent. Thus we have a choice to savor the good and accept inevitable loss. Facing what is, as a continuous beginner (versus trying to force what we want as an expert) opens up many possibilities that are not available to those who resist and cling.
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