Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: I discovered Zen Mind when listening to a talk by the Instagr.am founders on Stanford’s eCorner. They suggested Zen Mind to help you listen to your gut better and it aroused my curiosity. The book is a series of short lectures (5 to 8 mins of talking) by Shunryu Suzuki, the founder of the Zen movement in San Francisco, US. It does not assume any basic religion or any knowledge of Zen and is great as a starting point for understanding the Zen approach to life.
The book teaches learning one’s original self-sufficient mind, or beginner’s mind. This is everyone’s own internal map or true nature. The teachings in the book stick by basic Zen concepts and allow the reader to decide how much they would like to gain from it. For instance, you can choose to have joy as a gaining idea from your Zen practice, or commit yourself to an even higher path. The book also emphasizes practice in just sitting in the Zazen posture to imbibe it’s learning. What you will not find detailed in the book is Zen directly applied to your day-to-day activity – that is essentially a gap you could fill with the help of other guides such as ZenHabits. In other words, if you would like learn just basic Zen practice, this is the book to get.
For me personally, I found the book valuable in learning to accept and make deep change internally, realizing the need to go inwards to refresh perspective, tuning my approach and attitude to work amongst other things. I admire people who are relentless in their approach to their work and this book helped me understand and absorb this phenomena a lot better. Let’s just say that the results have been interesting and I’m curious to see what else I can do with this behind me.
I recommend the printed edition, hardcover pocket size to take where ever you go. It turns out, this book is also on Steve Jobs’ favorites. You also have an audio book option you can listen to in your car or on your mobile.