Beginner’s Mind (Volker Schunck)

Due to my lack of time I wasn’t able to ride my bike for a long time. And this morning was the 2nd time I rode again. I’m a bit ashamed of my condition, but it’s only a matter of time to get fit again. Yesterday was worse than today. And tomorrow it will be better than today. But that’s not my point. I want to mention the great joy I had. I noticed how clumsy and insecure I moved, and I could smile about myself. Everything felt fresh and new like a newborn baby. The wonderful sunny day, the cold wind blowing in my face, I enjoyed it. I had to concentrate on the traffic, had being aware that my tires didn’t get stuck in the rail track of the tram and I noticed my arising fear to get involved in a crash. In the first minutes I didn’t know where to look at first, the street, the correct gear or the tachometer.

But after 5 or 10 minutes I began to relax and a bit of satisfaction rose in me. I didn’t care about those who were faster with their bikes, but was happy to have found my own pace. I really felt good. The best was that I hadn’t time to think about something else than the feelings of my body, the smooth gliding of my bike and the environment. When I am alone I tend to think too much. But here on my bike I was totally in the moment. I had to, to handle the present situation. We usually admire the professionals who practice their art in perfection. But they often have lost these intense feelings of the beginners.

Some time ago I had the chance to observe a female painter. Sitting on the first floor, spooning my ice cream, I could look down to the lobby of the mall and could see a whole painting coming into existence.
At that time I wanted to paint very close to reality. And this woman did it par excellence. Richard Gere, Marilyn Monroe or some no names, their photos were attached to the paintings, could be identified at first glance. I was impressed. But as I monitored her my admiration vanished, because the painting was done in 20 minutes. Yes, the similarity to the origin was there, but she produced her paintings like a worker on the assembly line. The painting was dead and without spirit. That was no art, because she painted her paintings with routine, not with love and passion. She had lost her beginner’s mind.

And so it is with everything we do: the first ride on a bike, the first tennis lesson, the first date, the first kiss, the first sexual intercourse. All is threatened by routine, when we lose our love and passion. The first time of everything may be overlaid by fear and insecurity to make mistakes, but the magic of the beginning is unique and hard to beat. It’s not about perfection but about being present and feeling alive. Do everything as it were the first time with love and passion and your life is far away from being boring, because you are alive.

(The expression Beginner’s Mind I learned from Shunryu Suzuki’s book “Zen Mind – Beginner’s Mind) (2018)



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