The Zen Teacup

There is a story in Zen Buddhism of a businessman that visits a Zen Master.  The businessman  asks to be enlightened by the Zen Master, and the Zen Master points to a chair, and begins to pour tea.  However the Zen Master continued to pour tea into the cup until it over flowed and poured over the floor.  The businessman jumping up yelling “What are you doing?” and the Zen Master simply replied, “Your mind is like the cup, it is already overflowing.  In order to be enlightened, you have to clear your mind first”.

I love this story, and I often forget how much I am in my head, and how full it is!  Have you ever been told something simple, and yet you didn’t get it.  No matter which way you were told it, it didn’t make sense.  Then, you take time out, and the answer comes and everything falls into place.  This is sometimes what is required in order to help us in our day to day lives.  I know that  I am surrounded by sounds, images, words and other things that I can often just loose myself in them.  I then feel over whelmed or tired, or not bothered to do anything with that I have to do.  I can forget important events, like a client coming, or I can forget to do all the little bits that I need to do before I leave the house!

However, when I take time out to quiet my mind, and to still myself, I have noticed that I am able to just be, and I am able to do so much more.  I discovered a practice in ‘The Artist’s Way’ a book to help people reconnect to their creativity, called The Morning Pages.  In the morning pages, I have to write whatever comes to mind, and I have to fill 3 pages of A4 / leagal paper.  At first, this practice was hard, and I would often write “I don’t know what to write” until something else popped into my mind.  However, after a while I begun to continue writing and more things would fall out of me, little frustrations that I was having, good moments in my life, a plan of action for the day and so much more.  I was able to clear my mind, and with that I was able to do so much more in my day.  I also noticed what a day was like when I didn’t do it… I would be wondering around a little aimlessly and wondering what I was meant to be doing, and what was meant to be happening through the day!

I have tried meditation, but I am a bit of a chatter box, and trying to sit still for 10 minutes thinking of nothing has been quite a challenge!  The other challenge was not falling asleep!  However, by spending time regularly clearing my mind, I have noticed that I am able to do so much more, and have a great day too!


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