From mind-FULL-ness to mindfulness

Disney buddaThere’s this famous Zen story where a Buddhist scholar is visiting a Zen master with the intention to study under the master. On arrival, the visiting scholar starts talking about all his knowledge and insights, and he goes on and on. The master listens patiently and then starts to prepare tea. When it is ready he pours tea into the visitor’s cup and continues pouring even when the cup is full and overflowing. The man shouts “Stop, stop, the cup is full, it’s overflowing”. The Zen master calmly replies: “Your mind is like this cup. It is overflowing with ideas and opinions. If you truly want to learn something, you need to empty your cup first.”

My mind definitely feels like it’s overflowing. And in my eagerness to grow as a person and to handle life more elegantly, I keep on pouring stuff in. Believing, that if I read yet another book on this topic or that, or attend another on-line program, if I listen to another TED-talk, and if I keep up with reading all the great articles people share on facebook, etc. THAT will make it happen. Make what happen?

Give me a greater sense of control? Make me feel more knowledgeable? Make me more confident? Give me a sense of security? Help me get on top of things?

That’s nonsense and I know it. And it would be a never-ending quest, since there are always more things to learn. While I am a great believer in knowledge, education, and science, and those things making human life better and easier on so many levels, I also know that the sense of security, confidence, and accomplishment I seek in order to live a thriving, compassionate life, can only be found when I am connected to MYSELF and my INNER guidance. Which requires emptying my teacup.

Don’t get me wrong. I love reading. I’m curious and want to learn. I want to play detective and connect dots. And sometimes it just feels like there’s too much noise for me to recognize which of all the dots are mine to connect.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that ALL information is relevant to me and  ALL the dots are mine to connect, and  ALL the world is mine to save.

It sounds funny, because everyone (yes, even I!) knows that that’s impossible. But maybe there’s someone who can relate?

Deep breath. It’s time to empty that cup at least a little bit. It’s time to reconnect with myself, so that I can be MINDFUL about what’s going on out there – finding MY dots to focus on.



6 thoughts on “From mind-FULL-ness to mindfulness

  1. Gosh, Simone, that is SO well written. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. For me a big step toward emptying my teacup was [completely] giving up having to be right. It also helped when I came to realize that my thirst for information was just an expression of my natural CURIOSITY. So now I just jokingly say (as I read / listen to another tomb or article) oh., I’m just a learning junkie (smile!) I LOVE learning – it raises my vibration every time.

    • YAY for learning, Dave! It is such a pleasure, isn’t it? No, I would never want to give that up! Giving up having to be right, that I like, learning junkie ! For me, I think I need to be mindful of not taking more in than I can actually process, and cultivate an awareness of what answers I best look for within me, and what information I want to gather out in the world, and why. I want to learn savouring my tea by mindfully sipping it, rather than hastily pouring it down my throat. Of course, being thirsty for knowledge isn’t a bad thing.

      I love your perspective, Dave! It helped me getting both to the next level of clarity and paradoxically also made me aware of some still entangled (for me) complexities. Thanks for enganging!

  2. Simone, you are so inspirational! Your thoughts gave me an idea for a video that will be fun. I have been through mental indigestion at times from taking too many classes and reading too many self-help books looking for that one thing that will change my life or give me that Aha moment saying, “Ah this is IT!” I don’t think there is an IT because you, me and our tribe are way too curious and want to learn more and more – just because we love learning. Savoring mindfully is a wonderful idea, one I certainly need to cultivate.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I love reading them and responding.


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