In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. But in the expert’s, there are few.
Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (1904-1972)
Founder of San Francisco Zen Center
and author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
“Zen practice is about bringing your mind to the present moment, not thinking about what you expect to happen next or what you’re attached to behind you. It’s what’s here, what’s now. The mind of the beginner has no expectations. I was trained to scientifically look at things and bring in all the concepts and data I have into analyzing what I see in a microscope in front of me. And my practice is to just be present, like a beginner. What do I see here? I’ve made a lot of discoveries looking at exactly the same thing everyone else has been looking at but I came to it, not with an expert’s mind where I acted like I already knew what it was, but with a beginner’s mind where I could look at it kind of freshly. To look at anything and just be present with what is before you without making any pre-judgments or expectations is hard to do. But it’s something that becomes easier as you practice it. And, I think all my scientific progress, the hard science stuff, really comes from practicing science this way. Not with expectations and conditions.”
Neil Theise, M.D. is a pathologist and author of
Notes on Complexity: A Scientific Theory
of Connection, Consciousness, and Being