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Asking is about getting clear on what it is we want. It is setting intentions. When education is working well, it opens the mind. A good teacher will invite questions and discussion to wake up the mind to possibilities. Asking questions clears the way for discovery.

Science begins and ends with a question. Can this be done? What is this? How does it work? What more can this do? Just think of the things we wouldn’t have if someone didn’t ask a question first. When an hypothesis is set, isn’t that really a what-if question?

Asking acknowledges that we can’t know everything. From this place, there is more room for learning to take place. The Buddhists talk about being in that place of “Beginner’s Mind.” Where you know you don’t know it all and the mind can be a-light with questions.

In one of the Gawain stories in the Arthurian and Celtic legends, Gawain finds himself in a strange castle where a warrior is laid out as if he’s dead, with a sword in his heart that continues to bleed. Later, Gawain is witness to the Grail which floats through the hall serving everyone present. Gawain, however, fails to ask about the Grail and instead asks after the warrior. (You kinda can’t blame him for that, being a warrior himself.) However, though the land began to heal, the king still suffered. It wasn’t until later, when Gawain saw the Grail for the second time, that he remembered to ask about it. And then, finally, all was healed. This story carries a side note to me that you get more than one chance to ask. But the key is always in the asking. You don’t have to know all the answers, you just have to ask.

Seems you don’t even always have to hang around for the answer. Ask the right question and things can start to change instantaneously. The answer comes in a holy instant. You might not need to do anything more about it. Including discovering what the answer was.

We might balk at times about putting our lives in God’s Hands. After all that work to figure out what we want! But when we ask for what we want, aren’t we in a way, giving it up? Handing it onto someone else? What if we ask ourselves if we could think of it as handing it over to God? Is there much more powerful a thing to do than that?

What a delightful place to be!  Everything is so fresh and new.   When I first started on my job, I looked around and saw all the places of clutter.  How could anyone work like that?  But now, after months and months, I no longer see what’s accumulated for me.

Alec Guinness starred in a movie called “The Scapegoat” in 1959.  In it, his character takes a vacation in France to escape his boring life and meets up with a rich man who is tired of his life and so they switch places.  In the new role, with fresh eyes, he sees things the man before him didn’t. And he’s able to solve problems and mend fences.

In Beginner’s Mind you can be with the ordinary and see it in extraordinary ways.  When you’re just beginning, you have no past to compare with. Nor do you have a history to dictate what is to come.

This is a good time of year to come back to Beginner’s Mind.  Some may tell you to look at what you’ve done over the past year.  But that may cause you to see something that didn’t work out as you’d plan.  Don’t let that color what you can dream up for the year to come! It’s far more important to look forward and imagine what could be anew.

What can you do in the New Year?  Beginner’s mind sees unlimited possibilities.  Stay open in Beginner’s mind and see all roads.

Paulette Terrels had some good suggestions for the New Year: “Perhaps we could each write a list of the goals we would like to reach for in our personal relationships.  Then, we might set a goal for our creative expressions.  How do we want to experience this new year, and what will be our first step in each direction? Let’s think about our desires, write then down before Sunday, and also include our first action steps to begin our journey toward success.”

Remember that these are goals, intentions, and desires.  Don’t stress out over them and don’t list more for yourself than you can do.  The important part is to take action steps toward reaching them.  And allow your mind to be open to the extraordinary possibilities.

Happy New Year!

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