Twin Oaks Intentional Community
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October/15/2001 LEARNERS TREK

Beginner's Mind….

I start with the assumption that an expert open/beginners mind is more valuable to a person and a community. By expert I mean a person who intentionally cultivates this on an ongoing basis. For the person this has the advantage of not perceiving as much thru habit and/or desire (perceiving thru habit/desire saves time and reduces the cognitive load for us but has a high cost at crucial times). Such a person asks questions and/or answers them with an expectation that possibly there are more skills/information to be learned and thus engages with more heart. This person is more secure with what is not known and more skilled at error management. In the end they are more likely to make themselves vulnerable without, oddly, feeling at risk. This sort of stability in learning provides stamina for the proactive learner.

The expert open/beginner's mind is also important to community where we need to listen to each other even when what is being shared challenges us in ways that are new and/or hard. There often is a pull to fast reaction cultivated by "group think", tradition, momentum, and the resistance to take on a concept thoroughly. He/she notes the feelings and rhythm of the group yet balances that with their best thinking which they offer respectfully even when very different than the group. When the community intentionally cultivates such a mind in its members rich, beautiful and inspirational things happen.