Learning Something New – Be Like a Toddler

This re-post is dedicated to the people I have the privilege of teaching and mentoring.

ooOoo

As adults we are so used to being competent and knowledgable…. at least in some areas of our lives!
So when we take on a new challenge or want to learn something new it can be difficult.

I teach new yoga students and yoga teachers, and see how tough it can be for some to get their heads around being a beginner again.

Learning something new as adults makes us feel vulnerable. It’s a time where old fears about our worthiness surface, self doubt seeps in and egos rush to defend ingrained thinking and old beliefs.

beginner's mind

One way of countering this all too human reaction is to apply the Zen wisdom of Beginner’s Mind. This concept refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level.

Here are some steps to practice:

1. Be open and curious. Beginner’s Mind is about using the spirit of enquiry.  There’s a Zen story about this:
A student visited a Japanese master to inquire about Zen. The master served tea. When the visitor’s cup was full, the master kept pouring. Tea spilled out of the cup and over the table.
“The cup is full!” said the visitor. “No more will go in!”
“Like this cup,” said the master, “You are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

2.Take one step at a time and let go of the outcome. Focus on what needs to be studied at each step.

toddler running and falling

3. Be like a toddler. Fall down seven times, get up eight times. Celebrate falling down as well as getting up.

4. Let go of knowing. Embrace “I don’t know” thinking rather than conditioned “I know or I should know” thinking. We only know things up until now. How can we expect to know something beyond our experience?

5. Shake off shoulds. Shoulds are imposed on us. Instead, be the best you can be in that moment and take responsibility for your actions. Own your own life rather than ‘shoulding’ all over it.

6. Use your experience. Keep an open mind on how to apply your experience to each new circumstance. Get creative with what you know and what you are learning.

7. Experience the moment fully. Slow down and pause. Be fully present to what is going on around you and within you.

When you do this your mind quietens and you make space for the new. You find your Middle Ground.

Namaste

35 thoughts on “Learning Something New – Be Like a Toddler

  1. Thanks, Val. Sometimes we just need to go back to basics…and my favorite is to ‘be a toddler.’ It doesn’t matter how many times we fall down…it just matters how many times we get up…yes?
    Many blessings to you. I hope that all is well in your world ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Learning Something New – Be Like a Toddler — Find Your Middle Ground – Just Follow the Joy

  3. Love is that art of discovering and accepting ourselves in each moment ❤️
    Great post Val ❤️
    I wonder what it would feel like now to get an ice cream and focus on it so much that it is all over my face, dripping down my clothes, but I am totally ignorant of that. I am just that child again enjoying the moment 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the best things about spending time with my grandson is learning to look at the world through his eyes…everything is fascinating! And he is so open to learning and so honest with his emotions. We could all learn a thing or two from toddlers for sure!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Take one step at a time and let go of the outcome.”

    Letting go of the outcome seems for me to be the hardest part! But I’m all for toddler/baby steps. I loved this post, Val. I think I needed it today. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As adults, we are at a disadvantage. The toddler’s mind is a clean slate, wide open to any possibility, and without the dubious repository of knowledge and experience age brings to us.
    More even than emptying one’s tea cup, one must un-learn many incorrect things that have been taught us.
    One must begin with making one’s own cup, and choosing carefully that which we allow to fill it.

    Seek peace,

    Paz

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Learning Something New – Be Like a Toddler — Find Your Middle Ground – Articles & thoughts from Framework Marketing

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