Updated: Apr 22, 2022
Matthew 18:1-5 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
We don’t usually explore things that are known, unless we are exploring them for new information. Once we’ve settled on something we label it and cease to explore it further.
Curiousity lays aside judement and allows us to explore the reason behind something. We come at ourselves or others or even situations with a sense of wonder. Asking questions along the way
Why did I do that?
What made him respond that way?
I wonder why that happened?
This is developing a “beginner’s mind” according to Zen teaching. Which is looking at everything as if it is the first time seeing it, before it’s been colored by past experience, prejudices and perhaps even a faulty belief system which can neatly catagorize everything and put it away before exploring it. It’s what happens when couples fight and say “you always do this, or “you never …” The verdict is out before the situation even unfolds.
Fellow Christians, I hope you do not bristle at the term “Zen teaching” judging it before exploring it.
For beginners mind, though it is not termed that way is expressed throughout Jesus’ teaching. Think of how many times he challenged everyones preconceived notions about who the Messiah is and what he was to do.
He invites us to come to him as little children, humble, open to learning, dependent, curious, beginners. Being born again is all about beginning new.
I will say, a beginners mind does has it’s limits. We must be discering and use common sense! You don’t want to behave like a toddler, touching the hot stove over and over as if forgetting past information that helps you stay safe. But the truth is we depend far more on beliefs formed by past experiences than is truly necessary or helpful.
As a therapist I am often helping clients revisit belief systems that may have worked to protect them when they were younger but hinder growth as an adult. These are beliefs about who they are, what to expect from others, and how the world works. Once people identify their beilef system they can become intentional about whether they want to apply it to every situation.
Exploring helps us see things in a new light. It helps us discover delightful things about ourselves, others, and this big beautiful world. I encourage you, live curiously, with a beginners mind, a childlike wonder, a mindset that sees possibility rather than final judgement. It can be scary giving up all those certainties. But we become more open to hearing the voice of God which often can challenge the way we experience our lives, our relationships, our world.
This has been a writing exercise as part of Five Minute Friday. A community of writers that write for 5 minutes on a given prompt. Follow, or join along!