“Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”
— Meister Eckhart (1259–1327)
The dearest lesson in all life is the simplest one.
What if we were to take the advice above, literally, every single morning? Furthermore, what if we were to instigate this approach—reflecting the freedom of being a beginner—every lunchtime? And why would we stop there? Why not apply it every evening, as well?
We still may not get it. Some may say, “I am paid to be the professional. How am I possibly to be a beginner?” Every good question is worth a good answer. But many good questions miss the point.
The key point of life is our approach to it in humility. In humbleness we can always be a beginner, no matter how expert we are expected to be. In our interactions with people we gain the best portion of credibility when we approach the task and the people themselves with a healthy dose of authenticity verging on instinctive realness, especially in our mistakes.
The beginner is always learning, and we would be right if we were to determine life as a learning ground—because it is.
Notwithstanding all the other advantages in being a beginner in our minds and hearts, there is a symphony of joy we experience in being free of a burdensome load in always having to know it all.
Dealing with Our Pride Is Approaching Joy
When we can grapple with being a beginner we have no need to wrestle with protecting ourselves against embarrassment and shame for failing in life. The beginner almost takes pride in failing, because it is an opportunity for learning. The beginner knows they are constantly learning, because they are real in their failure. The beginner knows the courage in being real.
Life experienced this way means that there is very little to lose in terms of protecting a façade. Especially in churches we typically wear our façades on Sundays and we protect them well.
But God has something far better in mind.
We are better to approach life without such a façade. Being real from within ourselves, we can afford to be a beginner. And there are so many fields of endeavour in life where we will always be a beginner. But even as an authority, we can learn the simplest of things from the novice.
As there is wisdom in beginning, there is also wisdom in being a beginner. But far more of the advantage is the reconciliation of joy.
When we have no longer have any reason to protect our pride, not being fearful of being found out as a phoney, we have more peace and, therefore, more joy about us.
There is strength in admitting we don’t know, because we abide by the truth. When we no longer need to hold up a façade, the door to joy is opened to us. The easiest way to sublime joy is to be real with ourselves regarding what we know and don’t know. It is abiding to the truth that propels us to myriad virtue, and, in this case, to joy.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.