I’m living the beginner’s mind because I can’t help it

By March 27, 2009 Insights

The beginner’s mind is a concept that according to Wikipedia “refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would. The term is especially used in the study of Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts.”

I am living in Mexico and I do not speak Spanish as well as a 2-year old. I am taking dance lessons, something which I have not done since I was 12. Today’s lesson was Argentine tango, one of the most difficult dances to learn (except in my case I’d argue that the hip snap in Bachata scores higher on the difficulty scale). Neither my teacher, nor either of the guys I was practicing with spoke English.

Now let me add that when I was taking dance lessons in my youth, my mom painted the nails on my right hand red so that I could remember left from right since I had a little dyslexia-ish problem that resulted in my turning left when everyone else faced right (I think it had something to do with all those mirrors). I apparently still have this problem. And now I have a teacher who is telling me something like “no, go forward on your right foot, turn and go backwards” in Spanish. OK.

So, I’ve paid my tuition and now I have no choice but to embrace this subject with “openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions” because if I didn’t I would just have to break down and cry in the middle of the dance floor. And believe me, in a room full of mirrors that’s just not a pretty sight.

Seriously though – I really am having fun.