Posted by terrepruitt on October 11, 2014
In Nia there is something called “the beginner’s mind”. Since learning about it associated with Nia, I have heard about it in association with other things. It might not always be called “beginner’s mind”, but it is the same concept, the same idea. It is the idea of stepping into something – anything, even if is something you are well familiar with – with a mind as if you are a beginner. Step into it as if you are hearing it, doing it, seeing it, or learning it for the first time. Step in as if you are a beginner.
This is a wonderful tool. When you walk into a situation with an empty cup, when it is not full of knowledge on the subject, it is able to be filled with all the information, new stuff is easy to learn, stuff you already “know” can be learned in a new way, and your cup gets filled again.
There are many reasons why you might want to practice the “beginner’s mind”. It could be because you are required – perhaps through your company, your certifying board, or any number of things – to take a particular class. It could be because – even though you know you don’t know everything there is to know . . . the timing of the class has you thinking it will be a waste of time. It could be — as just mentioned — you know you don’t know everything, but the length of the class has you thinking you will only get two hours worth of information out of the twelve hours you are being required to attend.
When I take a Nia class I always step in with a beginner’s mind. I know that no matter what routine is going to be taught it is going to be different. Which is not to say that the teacher will not do it correctly or will not do it the way it was taught on the DVD, but it does allow me to easily accept. I accept the way the teacher is teaching it. It flows so much better if I am just receiving as opposed to trying to inject my knowledge and the way the routine is supposed to be done. I accept that the teacher might not teach it exactly as I teach it. The teacher might use different pearls. The teacher use different cues. She might have found that a slight change in the choreography works better for her students or even something for her. And . . . with the idea that I am doing it as a beginner . . . instead of an expert who knows the routine . . . I can learn something. If I just do as I am being instructed I might sense that the move she does is actually good for a particular audience. Or the pearls that the teacher uses really matches well with the movements. Instead of my inner dialog being the moves or worse something like, “Well, here I say, ‘XXX'” or here we move like XXX, with my beginner’s mind I am listening instead of “talking” over what is happening. All of this could lead to discover of a new movement pattern.
In regards to a training where you are required to be, it could just make it be less dreadful than you thought it would. If you accept the fact that it is a requirement and decide to walk in with a beginner’s mind being told stuff you already know is not such a waster of time. Keeping the beginner’s mind and not telling your entire story to prove what you know gives you time to listen to what others know and learn about them. And — as stated before — possibly hear the same information but in a new way. Allowing yourself to let go and not be the expert is freeing and lets you relax into the learning process.
I was grumpy this past week because I knew I had to spend my Friday night (FRIDAY NIGHT) and all day Saturday in a training. I was afraid that my grumpiness would keep me from learning and be recognized by others. So I asked for help and was reminded of the beginner’s mind. I was able to step into the class not as grumpy. Of course, I did mention the fact to the trainer that it was a long training and the trainer – being an EXPERT trainer and pretty awesome – agreed, gave me the sympathy I wanted and boom! I got over it. 🙂 With my “cup” empty . . . I learned some cool things!
Do you every have the opportunity to practice the “beginner’s mind”? Have you every practice the “beginner’s mind”? How did practicing the “beginner’s mind” work for you?