In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few

We sat around the front of the store between the doors and the registers waiting for the customers to begin arriving. It's the morning ritual, drink a coffee and clear the cobwebs and say the customary, "good morning" dispersed among the jib jab of the morning small talk.

We had a balmy 64 degrees on Friday but today was a cold 3 degrees with several inches of snow accompanied by high winds. A new employee was outside shoveling every inch of sidewalk around the building while the veterans of several years employment sat inside watching.

"You can tell he's new," stated one guy while the rest joined in with a snicker.

The wisdom of the moment was lost on them. I sat pondering the above quote of Zen Master Suzuki. In my last position as a manager, I tried to cultivate beginner's mind among my crew and for myself. Master Suzuki hoped that we would cultivate it in all of our activities.

For this kid, outside shoveling on a cold and windy day, the day, the new job, was filled with possibilities. His mind was unencumbered by the heaviness that will come after he has worked there for a few months. He will learn that the only reward in a full day's work will come from personal satisfaction and not from a "Hey. Good job." He will learn from his fellow workers the depth of discontent and frustration from working there.

Will he feel and echo his co worker's feeling of drudgery? Most likely. Will it change the outcome by having these feelings? Absolutely not! But we usually continue to attach ourselves to these feelings and feel burdened by their weight when we could feel unburdened and free by allowing our beginner's mind to continue. In fact, the choice to free our minds of the feelings of burden and despair, will allow us a greater happiness in our day and a clearness of mind regardless of poor management and bickering employees. I would rather shovel with a content mind and a free heart.

A greater choice indeed.


capegirl said…
shovelling snow, sweeping, love..they all get harder over time as the newness wears thin. But then as you so aptly stated it's all about perspective.
91ghost said…
I wish the miserable weather would ride in for's been vacillating up here in Vermont as well. I fucking moved back home to New England in large part because sickly enough I missed the miserable winter. There have been some good nights though, such as the cold snap in December when it was 17 below and I hunkered down in my basement Clan Den (so named for the Clan Campbell of which I am a member--something I know you understand, what being a fellow highlander)and smoked the tobacco in the corn cob pipe, and smoked a touch of the green stuff (a mild and pleasant Green Mountain homegrown crop), and drank some shots of Mr. Boston's blackberry brandy, and watched the snow come down.
Tim said…
Yes, is perspective, but it is something more than that as well...the perspective that comes from mindfullness
91 Ghost -
you damned Campbell! Cheers! Only a New Englander could appreciate your words.