Beginners’ mind.

Last week I was back at school teaching children the violin after the holidays.

There’s such a range of personalities, and quirkiness in the children. Some who barely say anything, and those who love to talk. Some who complain, and those who say yes to most things I ask them for. And nearly all of them ask questions. Which as I teach one to one, or in small groups I usually have the luxury of being able to answer.

They are so open to ideas, and change. They haven’t lost their beginner’s mind. The ability to not know everything, or to need to know everything. The ability to say yes to new ideas.

Not all of us keep that, sadly. An aunt of mine has the habit of no. She says no to any new idea that might help her. She has for decades, so it’s not a solely age-related issue. Whether it comes from me, or her more respectable daughter, who’s a doctor, the answer is always no. There’s always a reason not to try. It makes her world smaller, which is more manageable, but also much more limited.

It’s a choice. Do you try things out before you reject them, or immediately say no. And what encourages you to say no to some ideas, and yes to others?

It’s often fear. Fear of change, even if it might be for the better. Fear of the unknown. Fear of being wrong. A pressure to be right/good. But we need mistakes, or there’s no choice. We can’t act from knowledge unless we have more than one option, only having one option is compulsion. Moshe Feldenkrais said we need three ways of doing something to have freedom of choice.

A beginner’s mind, where we stay open, where we decide not to be the expert in the room, is the best way of learning, of soaking up information. It allows us to explore, play, and in that, learn.

We have the capacity to evolve through the whole of our lives. To grow not only our ability to feel and move better, but to also think better, and live better.

So come to a class this term, and learn with us. 

If you’re interested in how Feldenkrais could help you, either in individual sessions, or group classes. please get in touch. 

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