It was one of my blog followers that has inspired this post. In a comment to one of my other posts he shared the story of the wise Zen master with me. It reached me at the most divine timing. I knew the story already, but being reminded of it in “that” moment was exactly what I needed. Once again it was wisdom already received, but tucked away somewhere and not accessed by myself until I was reminded. Strangely how that happens more times than none. Thank you John.
I had written about my new outlook and about viewing an empty Glass. As an optimist my belief was always around seeing a glass as half full, a positive view compared to seeing it as half empty which could indicate negativity. Perhaps seeing an empty glass would be equivalent to signaling the end, with nothing left to go for. Perhaps it’s just another outdated program and a belief I picked up somewhere along the line. Pieces like these keep coming forward and they make me question most everything these days. They challenge me to see things with a new and refreshed look, making way to new possibilities, considerations and beliefs. It is as if I am receiving an upgrade to my self, my being, ready for the next phase. I arrive at the conclusion that there is nothing wrong with an half empty glass as there is room for more to be filled into it. An empty glass signifies an even greater opportunity, an empty sleigh, a new beginning, a shedding and purging of the old to make room for the new. The only problem I really see now is with a full glass and you will understand why as soon as I share the story of the Zen master with you. Sometimes when we have the most, when we have gathered all the knowledge, all the learnings, all the wisdom, but when we forget how to use it properly and the ego is fed in the worst way, we actually end up in the worst shape, suffocating ourselves at too much bliss and closing ourselves off from all the beauty that still awaits.
For some reason I was dividing people this morning into the ones that are book smart and the ones that are street smart. To me the full cup represents the people that know it all already and who have nothing to learn. They create their own reality and perception, as well as their own truth and beliefs. It becomes their guiding system with little consideration for new insights and they usually don’t sway much from it. Is it a choice they made to be this way, has life made them this way, are they perhaps close minded, stubborn, mean, or are they secretively insecure, vulnerable, afraid, protecting their wounds with a strong image and front? Their cup is full, overflowing, with no room for anything else. Some of the people I have met had degrees and are very book smart. They are educated and they know what they want. Sometimes to the point of any cost and downright ruthless, manipulating and narcissistic. And sometimes they will overpower you with their smarts because there is an answer for everything already and they already know, regardless of what you have to say. They are beyond the listening point, not really hearing you anymore. Some struggle to find common sense in the challenges of day to day life and regardless of their smarts, they become lost and isolated. Please forgive me for these opinions, I am not trying to generalize and I know there are exceptions. These are merely my experiences and what I encountered. What I see and what I pick up as an empath, regardless of the pain I have experienced because of that behavior.
And then we have the ones that deal with day to day life every day. Who might not be the smartest, who might have skipped school, never earning that degree, but who still have amounted to something worthwhile. Who have become experts to rolling with the punches, who are not exempt from the challenges and life itself, but who consistently catch the “Green lights,’ somehow making it work. I look at actors who have ditched their professional diploma and instead became a student of life, and a role model to society. Who have become motivational speakers sharing their wisdom about life and what it takes. Who became highly successful regardless of how they did in school. The ones that are life long students, not only marching to their own beat but to that of a higher meaning. So which one holds more worth I wonder, or is it even a matter of which one is valued more as each contributes in their own unique way. Again, I am speaking only for myself, about my preferences and who I would rather be. Don’t get me wrong, I think that an education is very important as it opens doors for careers and financial security. And yet how to be happy, content, and at peace, aligned with your highest self is not being taught in school. How do we earn that degree? From living life itself. We teach to strive, to be competitive, to work hard, to become ruthless, to be better than the other person. We don’t teach mindfulness and compassion, or what it takes to be content. Perhaps we are starting to incorporate some of these things, and while it is not enough yet, perhaps a start has been made. Perhaps there is a common middle ground, a great education but an open mind, and a willingness to learn the best of both worlds. To stay receptive and keep the ego humble. A hard task for sure but not impossible. Perhaps it starts with a choice. All kinds of things to ponder here and to consider. You can see how my mind could keep going, but now, finally, here is the story of the wise Zen master.
There lived a wise Zen master. People travelled from far away to seek his help. In return, he would teach them and show them the way to enlightenment.
One day, a scholar came to visit the master for advice. “I have come to ask you to teach me about Zen,” the scholar said.
Soon, it became obvious that the scholar was full of his own opinions and knowledge. He interrupted the master repeatedly with his own stories and failed to listen to what the master had to say. The master suggested that they have tea.
So the master poured his guest a cup. The cup was filled, yet he kept pouring until the cup overflowed onto the table, onto the floor, and finally onto the scholar’s robes. The scholar cried “Stop! The cup is full already. Can’t you see?”
“Exactly.” The Zen master replied. “You are like this cup – so full of ideas that nothing more will fit in. Come back to me with an empty cup.”