This series is inspired by the concept in Zen Buddhism known as Shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind”. It refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and having an attitude of openness when studying a subject.
When you are a true beginner, your mind is empty and open. You’re willing to learn and consider all pieces of information, like a child discovering something for the first time. As you develop knowledge and expertise, however, your mind becomes more closed. You tend to think, “I already know how to do this” and you become less open to new information. But ‘The man who thinks he knows everything can learn nothing’. Having a beginner’s mind mentality means that you treat every day as if it’s day one of your learning journey. To quote zen master Shunryo Suzuki, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few”.
This series builds on the previous one ‘A heart full of wonder’ where the paintings convey peacefulness and are yet contrasted with elements that invoke curiosity and that remind the viewer of what it was like to see the world anew: through the eyes of a child. The Shoshin series is also related to the poems of Shel Silverstein, the lost skill of open-mindedness we had as a child, the willingness to listen perhaps.