Beginner's mind LO7390

Terri Deems (
Sat, 11 May 1996 13:12:56 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO7337 --

>From Barry's message, where he refers to "reinvigorating this
discussion," I am assuming there has been an earlier thread around
beginner's mind (which I missed). So my apologies if my note covers
"old ground."

Barry posted 3 observations (presented here in snip form).

>1. In fact-based business practice, there is probably impetus away
>from beginner's mind to knowledge accumulation.

I think knowledge accumulation and beginner's mind do not necessarily
HAVE to be at odds--though granted, our attachment to, or fondness of,
prior "knowledge" can make a mindful approach more difficult for most
of us. As Shunryu Suzuki (who I believe popularized this idea of Zen
mind/beginner's mind) described, beginner's mind is more than the
simple idea of "the more I learn the more I learn how much I have to

Rather, it involves the "innocence" of first inquiry, free of
the habits of the expert, accepting, ready to doubt and to remain open
to all possibilities. A way to be most straightforward, simple--as
if we were beginners--rather than our tendency to appear skillful or
whatever. To me, this does not imply that facts will decrease our
ability to start with a beginner's mind; it suggests instead that we
need to include facts and knowledge AND be willing to doubt or to look
beyond them. To understand at the start that we MIGHT know, but we also

>2. Responsibility in my manufacturing organization is disconnected
>or disassociated from the idea that the more you know, the less you

This is probably a pervasive condition particularly in the Western world.
Comes, I think, from the tendency to place greater value on
information and knowledge and facts, rather than wisdom. Some people
attach themselves like leeches to Doing and Appearing--stems I think
from an immature, un-discerning ego.

>3. I have not read recent books about running a business
>organization with a soulful, [or] God-recognizing, or spiritual
>approach. Can principles espoused contained in these apply to line
>workers? Must they if supervisors want to generate successes in

With much of my work and research being caught up in such ideas, I
absolutely believe that the principles of mindful/vital work (or
whatever you want to name it--the essence, qualities, characteristics
remain the same) must apply to all people within an organization. Applied
through a sense of "right work," outcomes consistently include (but go
beyond) quality service/products, profit, market share, etc; applied
as one more value-added strategy to strengthen to "bottom line," however,
the outcomes are variable (examples of these include corporations that
have a "soul committee" or have mandatory poetry readings).

Nothing within this body of literature contradicts anything within LO
ideas, by the way, and many LO's practice these principles (though they
may not always name them as such): a sense of social justice, fully
participatory ways of being, no boundaries, shared values (thought NOT
appropriated values or mission), room for expressiveness and creativity,
community and connectedness, etc.

Just some thoughts . . .

Terri Deems
Deems Associates Inc

-- (Terri Deems)

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