What we think we know can limit our experience. Humans tend to incorporate new information in relation to what they already know, adding on like bricks or building blocks. If we start with a faulty foundation of beliefs, we are likely to have problems with what we put on top of it. The expectations we bring to what we see and hear may not allow us to take in the whole picture. If we can explore a situation without preconceived ideas about it, as absolute beginners, we may find some interesting experiences.
"I’d like to get to know you” are the lyrics of a song about wanting to have a relationship with someone. If we already have beliefs about who a person is or what a person will say, how can we truly know them? Relationships start to deteriorate when people stop listening. And if we are busy, we may take shortcuts; we think we know what the other person is saying, so we interrupt or put their thoughts into our words instead of working to understand who they are and how they think. Listening for understanding with a beginner's mind rather than to prove a point facilitates deeper happiness in our relationships.
Albert Einstein didn’t see things the way other people saw them, and he had trouble wading in the mainstream during his youth because of that.
He did not stay anchored to any belief system, but rather was an explorer in a world that to him was fascinating because he knew he didn’t know about it, and he wanted to learn. It has been suggested by spiritual teacher Gary Zukav that Einstein’s theory of relativity was made possible because he started with a beginner's mind.
It has long been recommended for elders to take on a new activity, to learn something new, in order to keep the mind flexible and functional. I suspect this is sound advice for anyone of any age. Approaching each activity with beginner’s mind allows us to keep existing pathways stimulated and even sometimes create new ones.