Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Empty Your Cup

As the sediment drops from the water, the view clears. Social and cultural expectations to speak only with those who are like me i.e. mothers, women, from a certain background emerge. I wonder Am I making this up? Why do I so acutely sense that I am going against the grain? We Americans think we are egalitarian, but are we?

Distracted by wealth, poverty, origin, status signs, knowledge, experience; we fail to recognize the humanity before us. When we never start a conversation with someone younger/older, from a different/same place, richer/poorer, or with more/less intelligence than ourselves, we dismiss what we have in common and fail to recognize that we are all connected.

Paths that have crossed places and people, the deepest ravines, taken the boldest leaps, held steady, gone in loops; all have a story to share if we open ourselves to them.

We get distracted from real food with diets. We get distracted from the world before us with our head. We get distracted from life with gadgets. We get distracted from experiences with ideas we hold. We can not receive if there is no room.

Empty your cup.

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. 
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring. 
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!" 
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?" 
Zen Koan 

Empty your cup