Julian Summerhayes


First Things First »

Good morning. In today’s podcast I talk about that old saw of first things first. What does it look like for you?

(If you haven’t yet checked out my new ebook, you may want to swing over to juliansummerhayes.com/store/ and have a read of the first few pages. It’s a compilation of some of my blog posts over the past few years.)

“'Your arrows do not carry,' obeserved the Master, 'because they do not reach far enough spiritually.'”

– Eugen Herrigel, Zen and the Art of Archery

Beginner’s mind

"In Japan we have the phrase shoshin, which means "beginner’s mind." The goal of practice is always to keep our beginner’s mind."

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki

I know that I need to read Shunryu Suzuki’s book again.

But this time, I intend to look at every aspect of my life.

(Beginner’s mind is rarely talked about. Instead, we default to the accretion of knowledge. And that’s laudable where we understand who we are and have a worthwhile aim. However, there’s a risk that in the process we lose our openness to change, to see things with a new pair of eyes and fail to live in the moment.)

Look at your own life.

How fresh does it feel?

Now, imagine a blank sheet of paper (think of this as representative of your life). The only objective is to drop all past conditioning and opinion.

It feels totally different.

I accept that there’s a time and a place for knowledge but don’t allow it to cloud out the ability to try something new, embrace change and to become moribund with autobiographical, internal-mind soundbites.

But, beginner’s mind goes much further. It’s likely to mean that you say yes to a lot more.

I don’t mean yes to doing more things.

I mean saying yes to those things you’ve been putting off for a very long time. (It stands to reason that if everything is new your’re more likely to try it.)

Beginner’s mind: more than the sum of the words…

“When we do not expect anything we can be ourselves. That is our way, to live fully in each moment of time.”

– Shunryu Suzuki, not always so