When I was working in East Harlem in the early 90s, I attended a conference on community building and grass-roots movements. Inspired to act for change, I blurted out to a staff member, "I think I now understand this stuff." Sister Regina, 30 years my senior, gently reprimanded me: "Be careful, because there is always more to learn."
This is similar to a Zen phrase known as “beginner’s mind.” I’m not a Buddhist, but I find it encouraging that in every moment we can begin again. I heard an interview with an actor who described growing up as an Army brat: "Every year or two, we were in a different zip code. But the disadvantages weighed less than the positives. For instance, I made new friends often and no one knew my past. I could begin over and over again with each new kid and every new school."
If you deal with new situations by listening to old tapes, you might be missing out on a lot! As Alice shared in her Daily Dose of May 8th,
Kids call them "do overs" or they simply press the reset button on a video game. Know this: you can always begin again. And what's better than a beginner's mind? A beginner's heart. It's the fresh feeling that no matter what has happened in my past "I got this", "I'm on course", "I'm made for this."
While a beginner's mind is helpful for removing judgment and the poison of the past, a beginner's heart helps you feel the rightness, the goodness and the notion that "All is well" (Julian of Norwich).