West London Girl

WLG on cultivating a beginner’s mind


'He’s been on Tinder/Happn/Inner Circle, talking to girls for quite some time’

Dubai is a small city. One of the ladies forwarded a screenshot of her Tinder conversation to our ‘ladies nights’ WhatsApp group. Two of the other ladies immediately recognised him from their own previous Tinder experiences. Sabine, in particular, remembered him because he’d blocked her after she refused to send him a picture of herself. ‘You need to consider that he’s been on Tinder/Happn/Inner Circle, talking to girls for quite some time,’ she warned. ‘But then I should probably be cultivating a “beginner’s mind.”’ And she forwarded a link to a lecture by Abbess Zenkel Blanche Hartman that she’d been reading.

Apparently, beginner’s mind is Zen practice in action. In order to live in the present, to get to know our own original nature intimately and to be able to live and express ourselves from that place, we need to let go of preconceptions, expectations and prejudices. And before we can let go of them, we need to recognise our own fixed views in the first place.

I like the concept of letting go of expectations. It is easy to get disappointed when we expect one thing, and it doesn’t work out quite like that. Expectations put a lot of pressure on our work, travels and relationships. Dropping expectations was something I’d previously been advised by a grandmother, ‘I think it is best not to expect anything. A man has to work hard and it’s no use nagging.’

But sometimes having high expectations is a good thing. If we had known how difficult it would be take on a new project, relationship, responsibility (I’m thinking of my sickly ‘foster’ cat, whom, I’ve subsequently discovered, was rejected by someone looking for a ‘special needs’ cat) or move country, then perhaps we wouldn’t have made the leap.

“I bet you wish you had known the real cost of living in Dubai before you moved,” Kate said, during our Skype call.
“No, I’m glad I didn’t know,” I replied. “What would I have said to Trustafarian when he came to my rescue? “So I knew the norm is to pay a year’s rent upfront in Dubai, which I can’t afford, but I thought I’d move anyway?”’
“He knows you’re good for it. You’re not going anywhere.”
“That’s true – I can’t afford to.”

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