Beginner’s Mind: Habits of Thought for a Good Life
Beginner’s Mind: Habits of Thought for a Good Life at Columbia and Beyond
In his famous Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki writes, “In the Beginner’s Mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” These words have served as a guide for James Valentini during his time as a professor of Chemistry and then much-beloved dean of Columbia College. As he has developed it, the concept of beginner’s mind encourages us to put aside the judgment of others as our guide, and to use self-awareness and self-reflection to formulate our own assessments of the world. It reminds each of us to consider the possibility that we might be entirely wrong in an assessment about which we feel certain, and to temper our judgment of others who have made a different assessment. These practices are essential for study in all disciplines at the university and beyond.
Join Deantini for a conversation on beginner’s mind, with responses from Szabi Marka (Physics) and Elaine Sisman (Music).