Pattern Mind


Once you change your philosophy, you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern, you change your attitude. Once you change your attitude, it changes your behavior pattern and then you go on into some action. — Malcolm X
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s there are few. — Shunryu Suzuki-roshi


Our behaviors and actions are a result of our perspective: how we see the world and how we think about it and how it works. Our actions and their results in the world are a mirror of our minds. The “Rational Mind” focuses well on detail and information, and has helped us develop great technological power. The “Intuitive Mind” leaps to ideas and insights and needs the rational mind to go back and fill in the steps and connect the dots. Freire talks about the “Colonized Mind,” which has internalized the disdain and hatred for all things native or natural and values hierarchy, order, and Western Civilization above all else. In Zen practice there is the concept of “Beginner’s Mind”, which is able to go past ideas and knowledge to see the world clearly and purely, unclouded by preconceptions. The Haudenosaune or Iroquois speak of the “Good Mind,” one free from grief, anger, or hatred, which can see clearly and values Peace as an ultimate good and source of true power. A “Pattern Mind” is one able to see behind the surface presentation of things to the processes and patterns that are revealed by those things, to think and work on the level of patterns. The Pattern Mind is an effective approach to working with the living world in a way that does not create serious problems.



Pattern Mind is an integration of the disciplines of tracking, living systems thinking, and permaculture design. Tracking provides embodied experience in pattern observation and understanding. Living systems thinking enables us to track the patterns of our thoughts and ensure that we are thinking and working wholly and at the right level. Permaculture or Regenerative Design is about working with living systems to provide for human needs in ways that increases their coherence and health. Without reading or understanding the world around us as living, shifting systems of exchange, we can only work from our ideas rather than reality. Without thinking wholly or at the right level we are likely to miss something important. The multiple perspectives of a Pattern Mind ensure holistic vision, thinking, and action.


The mind we know in dreaming, a nonrational, nonlinear comprehension of events in which slips in time and space are normal is, I believe, the conscious working mind of an aboriginal hunter. It is a frame of mind that redefines patience, endurance, and expectation. — Barry Lopez