T.S. Eliot's Little Gidding contains the following lines:

We must not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we began
And to know the place for the first time.

Are there any idioms or expressions which communicate this same idea of a sort of circular journey which achieves a beginner’s mindset in less words? Or even maybe just a paraphrasing of the quote which cuts down Eliot's word count. Basically is there any expression or string of words you know of that connote the idea of 'knowing a place you've known your whole life for the first time'.

  • Travel the world to understand better your place of origin? That's not very succinct, sorry. May 27, 2022 at 21:08
  • achieves a beginner's mindset??
    – Lambie
    May 28, 2022 at 14:53
  • @Lambie Beginner's mind is a concept from Zen Buddhism called Shoshin: "having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would." It basically means appreciating stuff as if it the first time you've seen it. Like, for example, imagine never seeing rain before and then watching a thunderstorm for the first time. Adopting this mindset makes that thunderstorm a little bit sweeter than it already is.
    – Nick
    May 28, 2022 at 22:17
  • Link for above definition: creativehuddle.co.uk/post/…
    – Nick
    May 28, 2022 at 22:17

2 Answers 2


“To be whole is to be part. True voyage is return.”

— Ursula K. Leguin

The words are attributed to Odo the Philosopher in The Dispossessed, part of Leguin’s Hainish Cycle.

The second sentence captures the meaning of the T.S. Eliot quotation, and can stand by itself.


It reminds me of Parable of the Prodigal Son when the son finally appreciates home, and decides to return there.

And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father.

— Luke 15:17–29, KJV

  • Matthew 16:25 speaks of a better directed adventuring leading to developing one's full potential, becoming the person we're intended to be. May 28, 2022 at 10:41

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