I’ve been thinking about the role of humility within a spiritual practice. Healthy humility is powerful. In the Japanese language beginner’s mind is Shoshin 初心 and if you look at each kanji character it is new and heart (or at least that’s what I have been told within spiritual circles). Coming to any endeavour, new and open, each time is like wiping a slate clean, and aids in expansion.
What I’ve noticed, is that we all have a tendency to think we ‘know’ at times, and are moved into the realm of arrogance when we believe we have all the answers. Thinking we ‘know’ is what stalls deeper self-growth because it keeps us in stasis. When we think we have nothing left to learn we become mired in old patterns, turning the same experiences over, again and again.
The only way out is to adopt mental neutrality, humbly beginning anew each time, open and fresh. Asking The Self questions like, ‘what am I not seeing’ ‘what is this teaching me’ ‘how can I learn something new from this’ add the element of reflection that deepens the journey.
The beginner’s mind is not the same as un-healthy humility. When humility is unbalanced it keeps our light small. It closes us off to our greater wisdom because we second guess what is real. It is the voice that says ‘who am I to say these things’ or ‘who am I to do these things’.
When we meet our life with the beginner’s mind, we open ourselves up to deeper curiosity. Life becomes a never-ending adventure full of opportunity, expansion and depth.