In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few — Shunryu Suzuki
The Zen Buddhism word Shoshin means 'beginner's mind', referring to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions. Practicing shoshin is letting go of preconceptions and adopting an attitude of openness when studying a subject. A true beginners mind is empty and open.
For Zen students the most important thing is not to be dualistic. Our "original mind" includes everything within itself. It is always rich and sufficient within itself. You should not lose your self‑sufficient state of mind. This does not mean a closed mind, but actually an empty mind and a ready mind.
In the beginner's mind there is no thought, "I have attained something." All self‑centered thoughts limit our vast mind. When we have no thought of achievement, no thought of self, we are true beginners. Then we can really learn something. The beginner's mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless.
So the most difficult thing is always to keep your beginner's mind. There is no need to have a deep understanding of Zen. Even though you read much Zen literature, you must read each sentence with a fresh mind. You should not say, "I know what Zen is," or "I have attained enlightenment." This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner. Be very very careful about this point. If you start to practice zazen, you will begin to appreciate your beginner's mind. It is the secret of Zen practice
A ‘don’t know mind' is an open mind, a clear mind. Don’t know. Not sure. No fixed opinion. These are the qualities of a ‘don’t know mind'.
The author James Clear has put it well like this:
"There is a danger that comes with expertise. We tend to block the information that disagrees with what we learned previously and yield to the information that confirms our current approach. We think we are learning, but in reality we are steamrolling through information and conversations, waiting until we hear something that matches up with our current philosophy or previous experience, and cherry-picking information to justify our current behaviors and beliefs. Most people don't want new information, they want validating information."
"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything."
The best thing I've ever found is no-mind and choiceless awareness. This boils down to the art of simply being (not trying to be something). I then take actions that come out of being aware and present.
I call the situations I imagine to be exciting 'impressions'. I don't focus on how to create these impressions. I just imagine them, feel them, then let them go.
The choiceless part, is being aware and present each moment as best I can, and taking the action that occurs to me in that moment. Or I jot down the action to take if I can't immediately act on it.
Being like this, moment by moment, is what I have learned to be the best way to set myself free, and set my 'impressions' free to come about in their own space and time.
Being is living with an absence of fear, straining, wanting or trying to be something (like a success). It is a natural easy state. In our noisy fearful modern world this requires cultivating. And trust. It's a scary time to be alive, and easy to to fearful.
I am an aspy powered, type-a individual, and have spent an exorbitant amount of my life running around stumbling, struggling and failing. I am now in my late 40's, and I have finally learned to surrender to being rather than doing. Being is the opposite of trying to be something. There is quite a difference.
Being for me is being as aware as I can, and mainaining a focus on full awareness ( I call it 'wide awareness'). I then take action that come out of that wide awareness. Ideas arrive. I act. The only other requirement is patience, and allowing what happens to happen (with acceptance).
Being is quite easy, as long as I am not giving into fear. Or working hard to try and be something. Being is just living with emptyness and awareness, which I find it wonderfully soothing and blissful.
Living without trying to be something is the idea behind 'effortless action'. Effortless action translates to being a human being, not a human doing. That quiet and lovely absence around us is full of energy. Things can happen easy when I allow them to. And I allwo them by getting out of my own way.
Being, is being awake and aware and 'here now'. It's that simple. And that challenging.
One of the many boons that come from cultivating awareness is I am always alinged to the the things I want to be now. And not who I wanted be yesterday, or tommorow. I can be easy, open and empty, and allow things to come about in suprising ways. It's a very interesting way to live.
In a nuthsell, I form a light 'impression' of what I want, I feel it (it has be exciting), and then I allow it to come about in ways I could not have imagined. All that's required is having impressions I find exciting, and cultivating no-mind. And with some patience and allowing, life unfolds in suprising ways.
Life is easier when I am not running around trying to be something.