Image via WikipediaLast night in my meditation, I was considering what it means to be a student, and how maintaining the student mind seems to open up a great relational dynamic. I'm going to try to give a little flavor of my thoughts and experience, and we'll see here how good a job I end up doing. It won't be perfect, and there will always be more to add, clarify, or refine.
I think it's a really good thing to be able to doubt properly. If I'm not able to question the assumptions and first steps I have made, how will I ever be able to see when they are no longer useful to me? This doesn't mean that I have no confidence in what I have gained already. On the contrary, since my learning has withstood the test of doubt I know these beliefs are strong, to a point. I do not yet know if anything is true, but I've found things that are widely applicable.
I have some habits, and ways of doing things in stance. Some help me get closer to my intention, and some lead me away from it. Sometimes what I think falls into one category falls into the other. It's useful to keep an open mind about good and bad habits. Cultivating awareness is part of being a student, and part of this process is "taking responsibility, experimenting, and getting results."
Beginner's mind is okay if you don't really care about what you're doing. If you're doing something, and have an intention, I think the student's mind is much better because the student is a process. Being able to critically examine learning, knowing, and doing with openness helps advance the process. Buddha didn't reinvent meditation everyday, but in another way he did, and this is what I believe it means to be a student.
Fresh eyes, not a fresh start. Knowing your starting point, yet not starting over... This is what I think studenthood means. Making mistakes is part of it. Confidence is necessary. Doubt is necessary. Habits are necessary. Habits can drag a person down. There is a wonderful interplay in being a student between knowing and not knowing.
I've been purposefully confusing, because being able to relate to confusion is important sometimes. If none of this makes sense, go ahead and read it one more time, and remember, I could be completely wrong.