beginner's mind

While reflecting on Father Richard Rohr's 7/13 post on beginner's mind, I realized there is only one statement I can make with absolute certitude and that is, "I don't know."

That is so liberating. I can say, "I perceive that....., I project that....., I relate to that....." But I do not "know."  We can only truly and honestly connect on a level that is not subject to human distortion by being totally out of our brain. In a culture that feeds our egos for knowing, comparing, being confident and certain, we are called to take a big courageous leap into the unknown. To be engaged at the soul level, we are called to be still, to be awake, to be vulnerably connected to the now. The ego will not feel rewarded by this.  There is no sense of "I am there, I did it." It is about being utterly empty and completely full at the same time.  This is hard work.  Emptying the mind is a practice of not attaching yourself to the thoughts that float by.  The thoughts don't stop, the goal is not attaching to them.  It is hard enough during meditation.  To do it in your daily life, that is a lofty goal.

One of the things I enjoy the most about practicing Compassionate Communication (NVC), is that in the role play practice sessions, we take a real life situation and practice seeing what is there.  We strip away the judgmental language and thought patterns that keep us from connecting the moment and the opportunities for connection. We start each exercise with looking at what is true in the moment. We learn and practice reporting like a camera. A camera records exactly what it sees, without judgments. As I've written before, we do the sensational reporting in our heads, not with our eyes.

What we have to do to be in what Richard Rohr calls "pure presence", is to loosen the ego's grip on it's version of our reality, open up, peel back the tough outer shell and let the tender fruit receive each moment, and for heaven's sake, don't bruise each other to bolster our protective shells. This is a leap that requires faith. It is easier to do among trusted friends that know your soul, that honor who you really are without the shell.  It is harder to be more vulnerable in places where we get rewarded for knowing, doing, being competitive, and confident. I believe that our corporate morality suffers from this issue and the only way to really make a transformation in that arena is for each of us to do this work of moving from the ego to the soul.  I try to recognize how often my ego is triggered at work. When I receive complements like, I appreciate your creativity, diplomacy, and practicality, I hear that I was acting from awareness and connection. On the flip side, when the recognition is not positive, I usually can trace the event back to something I did to protect or boost a wounded ego.
On almost all fronts, when I am able to genuinely say to myself or someone else, "I don't know", my ego can go offline long enough for my soul to come out and play. That sounds easy enough, but catching the moment and connecting with it genuinely and completely, and having the courage to shut your ego down, that is harder than it sounds.
I'm not saying I should answer every question with "I don't know." I just try to be aware of where confidence and creativity is coming from and let it come from there. That leads to more questions, more opportunities to collaborate, more areas of growth, sometimes I just say, "I'm following my gut here, I don't know."

As Richard Rohr's post on 7/17/13 says;
"Children do not believe theologies or strive for moral certitudes. They respond vulnerably and openly to what is offered them moment by moment. This is pure presence, and is frankly much more demanding than securing ourselves with our judgments.

Presence cannot be easily defined. Presence can only be experienced. But I know this: True presence to someone or something allows them or it to change me and influence me—before I try to change them or it!

Beginner’s mind is pure presence to each moment before I label it, critique it, categorize it, exclude it, or judge it up or down. That is a whole new way of thinking and living."