Shoshin – Innocent Mind

Shoshin - Innocent Mind

This Saturday morning I am musing on the power of Shoshin

I was recently on a mentoring call and the mentee is an accomplished actor looking to grown and learn in a particular business space. At one point I asked them, from their experience as an actor, what was key for them to be at their best. They answered: “to have an innocent mind”

This made me think of the term “Shoshin”, a Zen Buddhist term roughly translating as “Beginner’s Mind”. I wrote a piece on this well over 2.5 years ago around some thoughts in that moment for me, sharing it again here.

Whether we call it Shoshin, innocent mind, beginner’s mind, to me one essential part of this is to be present and allow “flow”.

On a personal level, I am at the moment introspecting on a strength of mine that is also a gap, a lifelong conflict, to be honest, something to which applying the concept of Shoshin is an answer.

My problem is that I have a mind that can work really fast, calculating many permutations and arriving at future solutions to problems.

Yes, this is a real gift in some spaces, but sometimes not. Sometimes I leap ahead to the future at a speed that can frustrate, overwhelm or even “piss off” others who may take the way my mind can work as pressurising or pushing. They may also feel I am solving for a problem that either they don’t see as needing to be solved, or perhaps they are simply not “there” yet, so me bringing it to the surface isn’t helpful at the time.

In introspecting, I also reached out to two dear friends who simply reminded me of this issue of how my brain works when “firing” and how it can land for others. They also noted that, another element to this is that I rarely do this in my professional life, but more often in my personal life. Ah, being human!

I sense that Shoshin is an answer for me, as when I remind myself to keep that innocent mind, I stop thinking ahead to permutations, options, sequences, answers. I simply slow down and “be”, to allow what is present, to allow things to unfold, to “flow”.

So, Shoshin is an anchor for me.

Enjoy your Saturday and thank you for reading my musing today.

Also published on Medium.