Improvising with the Buddha
Having a beginner's mind means you approach the world through a beginner's eyes. The term is translated from the original word, Shoshin, which is a word that comes from Zen Buddhism. It means you look at every situation you're placed in as if it's the first time you are seeing it. One approaches a situation with mindfulness, curiosity, acceptance, and openness. All of these traits are the foundation of improvisation.
The "yes, and" of improv asks that we see our situations as offers. Each offer is a gift that we embrace, examine, and play with. We can not always change our situation, but we can change how we react to it. Improvisation encourages teamwork, playfulness, and fearlessness. Those who say "yes" are rewarded by the adventures they have. We recognize that it is often hard to say yes. Entrepreneur and best selling author Seth Godine writes, "Almost without exception, organizations are run by people who want to protect the Old Business, not develop a new one." Dancer Twyla Tharp said, "Unless their survival is at stake, institutions resist change and defend the status quo." Statistics and trends show us, the church's survival is at stake. In order for the church to not only survive, but to thrive, it's leaders must learn to develop a beginner's mindset. A mindset of openness and curiosity. A mindset of improvisation.
Another teaching from improv is "Follow the Fear." It is by running toward that which frightens us rather than away from it, that we learn, grow, and change. God consistently called people out of their comfort zones and sent them on a journey. What looked like the wilderness, became a place of healing and growth. Do not be afraid, open your eyes, see new ways of looking at each situation. Embrace the ambiguity, dare to risk and realize that all of life really is just improvisation.