Attention, Mindfulness, and Curiosity

Critical thinkers are intellectually curious. They are attentive and mindful to what’s going on around them and to their own thoughts and feelings. The Buddhist concept of the “beginner’s mind” is closely related to the Western concept of the critically open mind, or ‐ mindfulness. Zen master Shunryu Suzuki defined the beginner’s mind as “wisdom which is seeking for wisdom.” He wrote:

The practice of Zen mind is beginner’s mind. The innocence of first inquiry—what am I? . . . The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the expert, ready to accept, to doubt, and open to all possibilities. . . . If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything; it

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