Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Written by on September 28, 2009 in Editorial

On a hot summer day in August, I started doing yoga again. It had been at least 5 years since I had done any serious work. I felt like I was in someone else’s body. Weak and inflexible, my body strained to do beginner poses and I found myself often resting in “child’s pose” during class.

This summer, I also began reworking our internal business processes at Holistic Networker. They too, had become rigid and in flexible. Forms for the Wellness Expo didn’t readily handle multiple venues. Our website, too, which elegantly promoted a single expo, now needed a redesign to handle multiple shows in multiple locations.
In both cases, I found myself back at square one. In handling my body and my business, the feeling of being “out of my game” was very real to me. As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown accustomed to being an “expert” in my domain. In my yoga practice and my business I was, once again, a “newbie” — starting anew and relearning my way to a new expertise.

Zen monks recommend that we undertake all our endeavors with a “zen mind”—a “beginner’s mind”. In the west, we call it an “open mind”. In practice, it really means more than just being open to new ideas. We must be able to discard old ideas — even good ones — that don’t fit our everchanging situations.

If we follow nature’s example, we would be reinventing ourselves and our businesses in real-time, not just when the environment changes dramatically. In this way, we can gradually accommodate new information, growing and evolving continuously. Unfortunately, as adults, we tend to resist change and we see things as they have been previously categorized (psychologists call it “hardening of the categories”). Thus it may seem that Twitter is “just online texting”, and blogging is “just MS Word online”, but actually, we are in the midst of a revolution of new ideas and procedures regarding work, business, career and right livelihood.

Keep a “beginner’s mind” and you’ll be prepared to accommodate new information and change at an accelerated pace. I do believe that humans are getting smarter, faster, stronger, and wiser.

About Tony Cecala

Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.


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About the Author

About the Author: Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind. .

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