It is a strange matter in spiritual life ... only a beginner could ever imagine there was such a thing as a beginner.
True, there is or was a time when there was an avalanche of information that seemed to be out of reach or learn-able or desirable or necessary or something similar. There was a time of sages and sagacity. Like any other adventure in learning, there is a time of, "Boy I wish I knew how to do that! ... or think that!...or understand that!" And so the research or exercises begin. The effort is something 'new' on this life's docket and what is new to me qualifies me as a beginner.
Lookit Buddha! Lookit Jesus! Lookit Mohammed! Lookit all those teachers past and present! Lookit the texts and teachings! Lookit the rituals and temples! It's...it's...it's HUGE. It's huge and I am, so to speak, tiny. How could I ever swallow this ocean of wisdom? It looks impossibly vast and difficult and ... oh well, I guess I'll give it a shot.
A beginner may console himself with fancy footwork: "Since there is no beginning and no end to anything, my beginner's status is bogus in reality." Right ... that and a couple of bucks will get you a bus ride. More fancy footwork can be found in the "become as a child" or "beginner's mind is best" two-step. Another bus ride.
Writhing and insisting, the beginner moves forward. Insisting on compassion, insisting on enlightenment, insisting on a whole array of wonderful and wondrous things. Some never get past insisting and hunker down in their insistences... and for them, the war never ends. Little by little the mistakes reveal themselves. Beginning and beginning and beginning. Bright openings and torrents or tears pass like signs along some interstate highway. Turn left for boredom, turn right for understanding, two miles to compassion, anger bear right, straight ahead for the destination ... the destination which is ... well, what is the destination? If there were some certainty about the destination, then the destination would be in hand and I would not be a beginner.
I may not know where I'm going, but I know I want to get there.
A time of sages and sagacity.
A folie à deux.
It's not exactly on target but sometimes I think the whole of spiritual adventure amounts to little more than "banging your head against the wall because it feels so good when you stop." It's not exact because stopping is not an option...
Any more than being a beginner is.