Beginners Mind: How To Be a Student of Life


“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few” 
– Shunryu Suzuki

Being A Student Of Life

Welcome back! Today I want to share another idea to help you live a more conscious life. The idea is about having a certain attitude. This attitude is just about being a student of life.

I feel that this is a useful attitude because life is always fresh, always new. By being a student life you’ll be constantly learning, and that requires that we always approach life in a new and fresh way. Which means we need to learn to let go of our past, let go of all our conceptual images, which we constantly use as a reference to interpret our present moment reality.

I think we all know a person in our life that we would label as a know-it-all.  This is a person who has an opinion on everything, but they speak in a way which it’s clear for everybody to see that it is not their own understanding. It’s just secondhand knowledge that they may have just got from a book.

Developing Your Own Understanding

It’s like if you read a book about fixing cars, but you’ve never actually fixed a car. If your car broke down you wouldn’t actually you know how to fix it, because it’s is not your own understanding. The problem with people like this is that when you think you know it all you immediately close yourself off to any real learning. Life is constantly trying to give us lessons, but the moment you think you know you’ve missed an opportunity to grow.

That’s why I think that having the attitude of being a student of life is very useful.  It requires that we learn to let go of our past. We need to learn to become very alert, very aware of our inner processes. It’s it’s like being a passive yet alert witness to your inner space. This is constantly noticing what you’re thinking, what you’re feeling, but in a way that you do not become identified to what you’re observing.

Observing in this way you can see the past operating within you. If you can become disidentified and not go along with these observations, these thoughts, these feelings, you then are not operating from the past. The problem is that most people derive their sense of self from their thinking process, they believe they are the little voice in their head. When you’re at that level you’re always just interpreting your world through the past.

Transcending The Past

These are all just conceptual images that come from our memories. Thinking is just basically a response from memory. In order for us to approach life in a new way, we need to be able to see the past operating within ourselves. When you can become that alert and that aware, then as you’re living your life day today and you’re exposed to various situations you can see when you’re trying to see the world through the past.

By being aware that you’re trying to see the situation through force of habit, then you can just put it aside. You learn to just be present, be aware, be alert in the moment. This is how you say yes to life. Life will then be a constant never-ending learning process. It’s a very beautiful place to be in. I suggest that you guys do whatever you can, in order to see the world with new eyes.

When you learn to put the past on hold for a little bit, you will be seeing the world from a place of just presence, of awareness, inner silence. Just learning to quiet the mind. The more alert and aware you become, the mind will slow down on its own. You’ll be able to intuitively know how to get back into the present and seeing the world from a place of presence.

With a beginner’s mind, you can take your experiences in a fresh new way. In a way that it will touch your mind, your heart, and your body. When it touches all three aspects of your being you’ll really be learning something. It will be your own understanding.

Every day is an opportunity to learn something new, to see things in a new way, to have more insight into your life. Life’s amazing, it’s a miracle that we’re even here. Don’t let your time go to waste, use it wisely.

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