“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.”

                      Shunryu Suzuki,Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind

In the interest of transparency, I disclose that I am recognized by the Florida Bar as an expert, and I hold the designation as a Board Certified Marital and Family Lawyer.  A small percentage of lawyers hold this designation. I have held this designation for twenty years.  That said, my point in this writing is that being an expert is insufficient. Something else is necessary.  I refer to that missing something as the Beginner’s Mind.

In my practice, I frequently encounter experts in various fields.  Because an expert deals with only a unique aspect of knowledge, such a person can respond by rote to certain facts and patterns of behavior.  Developing a beginner’s mind can help one see things in a new light.  With a beginner’s mind one lets go of everyday interpretations of people, things and events.

To have a beginner’s mind is to have a mind that possesses no preconceptions and expectations. This is the frame of mind that assists in creative problem solving.  This is the most efficient and inexpensive way to resolve marital and family law matters.  For this reason, I encourage my client and any expert involved to approach the engagement with a beginner’s mind.  This will allow us to unlock and understand the mysteries of the present, and not be frozen in the judgments of the past.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney