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Shoshin: The Beginner's Spirit
November 23, 2022
Shoshin wasuru bekarazu—Never forget the beginner’s spirit
-Japanese proverb

In The Sense of Wonder, naturalist Rachel Carson writes, “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.”

Misa Okayama makes a parallel observation in her meditative new book Making Adjustments“Certainly, children are at the ‘beginning’ stage of their lives, but are they really ‘beginners’ when it comes to noticing their world and being insightful? As I see them, children are the ‘experts’ in noticing. They are filled with curiosity, trying to understand things deeply. They see the world as possibility. They are natural scientists. Their questions are profound. They remind us of the deep meaning of things. They make constant inquiries about being human; they are on a quest to learn about the world. I don’t want to say they have beginners’ minds, but expert minds. It’s us adults who need to bring ourselves back to our beginner’s minds, to see the joy and brilliance in children’s play.”


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