Two of my favorite YouTube videos concern jokes and children.

In the first, a young girl is wearing a bib and sitting in a high chair. Her supper, half-eaten, is on a plate in front of her. Her father decides to entertain her with a bit of silliness. He asks her what the difference is between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The girl has an expectant look on her face, but is sidetracked by the funny sound of the names.

“Silly daddy,” she says. “A-bu Dha-bi.”

He tries again. “What’s the difference between Dubai and Abu Dhabi?”

She laughs with delight, but he tells her to wait, he hasn’t said the punchline yet.

Her eyes are keen with interest.

“People in Dubai, they don’t watch the Flintstones.”

The girl giggles uncertainly. Then her dad says, “But the people in Abu Dhabi do!”

It’s doubtful if the girl even got the Fred Flintstone reference, but the sound of “Abu Dhabi do!” made her explode with laughter.

The second video is of a mom and dad performing a magic trick for their young son, who looks to be around five.

The mom takes an unopened bottle of water and holds it, cap first, against her forehead. She then holds her son’s left hand.

He looks at her with wonder and anticipation.

The dad takes hold of the boy’s other hand. The lad is looking from mom to dad, ready for something magical to happen. And it does. The dad suddenly spits out a stream of water from between his lips. The boy’s reaction was probably more than his parents even hoped for. The burst of laughter was the type that stand-up comics dream of.

Both videos are funny, but the looks on the kids’ faces capture what Zen Buddhists call beginner’s mind.

Kids tend to have beginner’s mind because everything is new to them. They look at the world with curiosity and appreciation.

As adults, we tend to have a beginner’s mind only when we do something for the first time. We experience it when we see a new movie. Or hear a new joke. Or take the first drive in a new car.

For the most part, though, routine takes away our beginner’s mind. Life is a repeat of things we’ve already seen, already heard, already tasted, already read, already done. Delight is overcome by the drudgery of everyday life.

We can reclaim our beginner’s mind by practicing mindfulness. That is, making a conscious effort to appreciate what’s going on around us moment to moment. Instead of being constantly lost in a fog of thought, notice yourself and your surroundings.

Last night as I was scraping the supper dishes, the floral pattern on a plate caught my attention. Instead of thoughtlessly putting the plate in the dishwasher, I paused and looked at it for a long moment.

The loveliness of the design filled me with delight. I suddenly felt like life was telling me something wonderful.

Abu Dhabi Do!

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