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  • Kyle Fincham

The Beginner's Mind.

"The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-written man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him." -Leo Tolstoy



What Tolstoy is describing is shoshin, the beginners mind. "In the beginners mind there are many options, in the experts mind there are few." This is a simple yet high value idea. This, to me, is what separates counterculture practices from mainstream activities. The element of failure is prevalent in counterculture practices such as surfing, skateboarding, rock climbing, modern dance, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, etc.; meanwhile failure has been extracted from mainstream activities such as modern fitness trends and much of western yoga. Without a beginners mind, the ego prevents the acceptance of failure; and without failure there are no opportunities to learn, evolve, and grow.


"When restrictions you have do not limit you, this is what we mean by practice."


I found this book valuable, and will definitely have to read it again to digest more.

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