A Zen story tells of Nan-in, a Japanese master, during the Meiji era that received a request to meet with a visiting university professor. The professor came to enquire about Zen. Nan-in agreed to meet with the professor and offered him tea. The monk silently prepared the tea, as the professor watched in growing irritation. The monk slowly began pouring the tea into his visitor’s cup. The professor watched incredulously as the monk kept pouring the tea as the cup overflowed. Stop, ‘he said, it is overfill, no more will go in’!
Yes, said the monk smiling, like this cup you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup? I cannot teach one whose mind is already overflowing. Your mind is not free to receive.
When a mind is closed we only see what we expect to 'see'. We do not see or question at all, we drop into judgment and closed minds…
When the mind is open and we see or hear something new, we have to halt in our 'footsteps' and question further, an internal enquiry. We must come to a place of receptivity and openness before we can have the freedom to begin to understand and learn.
Come to the silence of the mind, to this breath, this moment, an inner smile.