We learn many things as we go throughout life. And soon there’s a settled confidence as we offer our acquired knowledge to others. But wisdom reminds us of the value of a beginner’s mind and the humility to be taught again.
Of course maturity involves learning and growing in ever-increasing competence. We’re not expected to stay in 1st grade forever. And at some point others should be able to rely on our refined strength.
At the same time, this is not to suggest we’ve ever fully arrived and there’s nothing left for us to learn. In fact, a prideful arrogance is often at the root of believing we know it all.
And this leads to many blinds spots.
For instance, the Pharisees were very knowledgeable in the Scriptures. But they still missed Jesus because in their arrogance they were not open to the reality right in front of them. They thought they had perfect vision, but they were actually blind.
And we face a similar danger when we believe we have all the answers and don’t remain open to seeing things in new ways.
The beginner’s mind is simply the humility to be taught again – to take a posture of a student willing to learn yet again.
And this is helpful even when we’ve mastered certain areas. Reviewing and even questioning basic truths allows us to keep our pride in check.
Perhaps we reaffirm what we already knew, deepen our understanding, or learn something altogether new.
We might also realize just how limited our perspective has been. We discover a whole forest of realities rather than just the one tree we were familiar with before.
Without this beginner’s mind we remain blind and limit our effectiveness in the world.
Don’t assume you know it all. Courageously adopt a beginner’s mind and stay open to learning again, however disruptive this might be.