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 entirely full, and then kept pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself, “Stop! 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?”
There is a lot of truth in this lesson from 100 years ago. In this digital communication age, we are now just approaching a time where a true learning of Spirit can commence.
But similar to the University professors cup, if our cups are already full with what we think we know about Spirit… the supposed knowledge that has been passed down from earlier generations and of course numerous religious texts… how could we possibly be ready to fill our cups with the true knowledge of Spirit that is experienced without thinking about it?
Better asked, how can we possibly have room in our minds for comprehensive understanding of Spirit if our minds are already full of ideas of what we think Spirit is?
Spirit can only be experienced, not derived from logical conscious thought, or intellectual analysis, or religious study. Just like if someone tried to explain to you what a strawberry tastes like when you have not yet tasted one, it would take an infinite number of lifetimes to try to explain it in words, where instant understanding could be attained by simply popping a strawberry into your mouth.
Well, tasting that strawberry is what we are all about here. Gaining the direct experience of Spirit is our main focus.
But until we empty our cups of what we think we know, there will be no room for new knowledge.
So empty your cup, and prepare your mind for level of understanding you never even suspected could exist.
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