15
May
10

Beginner’s Mind…

“It is more important to create than to be a creator, in any inflated sense of the word. Creativity means to create, to add something worthwhile to the world. A theologian [Christian] would say that a creative person participates in the Creator’s work. The creation of the world is an ongoing project, and part of the divinity of the human being is to add to that process.” [Thomas Moore]

But do Muslims have, or allow themselves to have what the “Zen Masters” call “beginner’s mind”, the spirit of the child who is relatively free from cultural contamination? Or is our sense of religiosity so constrained and limited that it is out of the reach of our soul’s fulfillment?

I can still remember asking a friend- eons ago – that I felt as a convert I had lost some of my soul to ritual; to rules; to dogma. My walking through the doors of Islam seemed to have stripped me of something I had always felt was my God-given right. The person did not know what to say to me at the time; we are all in our own worlds and sometimes can’t come out and sit long enough to hear beneath a cry for help. I didn’t take offense; I used it to explore what was for me important in Islam. I am not a scholar, nor would ever aspire to want to know everything there is to Islam.  That to me would be a dangerous position to put myself in. I prefer like in a previous post, to hold on to some simple things that I know I will keep steadfastly and fulfill me as a person; as a human; as a Muslim human.

So when it comes to participating in Islamic “dogmatic” debates- I am a silent watcher. I keep my opinions to myself. Mostly because I feel that I don’t have the knowledge to go bat someone’s comment or references out of the ball park. To me it is not important. Its enough that I listen to both sides of the argument and then apply what I feel for my person would in the long run make me feel more human. Because I have learned in Islam the aim is to keep you human. Keep you open and receptive in that “beginner’s mind” full of “child”.

Not the forced man-made childishness many scholars would ram down your throat- usually aimed at keeping women stupid and barefooted and men prisoners of their own self-imposed limitations. Of which I think this whole “Guardianship” mantra is all about. Or the one thousand and one rules and regulations, with as many amendments, articles and side-bars on everything you could possibly imagine. What, we can’t think on our own and come to an understanding of what a situation means to us as an individual and go from there? No, many would say that leads to chaos, to “fitnah”, to uncontrollable urges, desires, and actions. Control. No, that is not what I see Islam stands for. Yes, there will always be hard choices out there in the world that need to be made. One will “win” the other will “lose”; but I would prefer a compromise. A balance. A space to Be. Not just Do this, that, or the other. Doing is repetitious, can turn mindless, and somewhere down the line it loses meaning.  It loses validity in my eyes. Why? Because nothing is static, every changes. Nothing is permanent.

I would rather do as one of my Buddhist “uncles” would say, “What ever you are, be like a newborn; unafraid to explore;  unafraid to wonder; unafraid to learn.” Beginner’s Mind.

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2 Responses to “Beginner’s Mind…”


  1. May 16, 2010 at 2:02 am

    This post offers a lot of food for thought. I’m in the thinking mode anyway 🙂 Thanks for this. I will return and maybe add a piece of my own beginner’s mind 🙂


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