Vancouver School of Healing Arts REQUEST INFO INFO SESSION APPLY

Contact Us

280 – 1125 Howe St

Beginners Mind – An Approach to Training by Kendall Brunner

We all have preconceived ideas – ideas about who we are, what we are good at, and how others perceive us. We have ideas about health, society, good and bad, other people, politics, love, and religion. Anything you can think of, there is likely a belief attached. These beliefs have been downloaded, programmed, and stored in our psyche from our upbringing, families, society, gender, and race – some subconscious, some ancestral, and some conscious.

Based on our previous experiences, data, and feedback, we develop expectations about all situations and outcomes in our lives. While this way of living can keep us comfortable and the world around us just ‘so,’ there is so much room for expansive growth and development if we drop this rigidity. This rigidity is sometimes known as the “expert’s mind.” It’s a mindset where we think we know it all. The opposite of this rigid perspective is what’s known as the “beginner’s mind.” A beginner’s mind is the idea that we drop all preconceived notions and beliefs and come from a place of neutrality and curiosity. To not look at the world through our conditioned eyes but with fresh and wide eyes. What would it be like if we came into all parts of our lives from this place?

During my training at VSOHA, I could and would notice my ego starting to come online and have expectations about where my skill level should be at with certain modalities and coursework. I would come into class or a session with an idea of how things would look, feel and unfold. I noticed that the more confident I became, the more often my “expert and expecting mind” would come online. Once I finished school and started working in the field and doing post-secondary trainings (to no one’s surprise), I was quickly humbled. The more bodies I worked with, the more sessions I had, and the more I studied, the more I realized that I knew absolutely NOTHING. Expert? Who? Where? Not here.

It was during this humbling that I was reminded of this potent insight that was woven throughout the education and curriculum at VSOHA – this ancient Japanese teaching known from Zen Buddhism as ShoShin. This wisdom asks us to dissolve our boundaries, widen our eyes, and be mindful, open, and receptive. Shoshin asks us to come to every training, session, relationship, client, and moment with fresh eyes, a neutral mind, and an open heart. The ego (the small mind) wants to be the expert; “the know it all.” It wants us to be safe in our confined beliefs, but the essence of the self, the nature of the healing heart, wants us to expand beyond these limiting structures.

What parts of your life could you come to with more of a “beginner’s mind”?
Are there undiscovered treasures that you’re overlooking because of a narrowed view?
How much more of life can we let in if we soften?

Are you interested in going through the same experience as Kendall in the Bodywork Therapy program? Learn more about the program here!