Empty Cup

Making Room for Awareness and Spiritual Growth

There was this martial artist with about ten years experience in the martial arts. Now this person wished to continue his studies with a well known master located nearby. As per custom the martial artist collected some letters of recommendation and phoned the master requesting an interview. The master politely refused the interview and told the student to call back in 2 weeks as he was very busy. The student knew the protocol and proceeded to call every two weeks always being rejected. Finally after a couple of months the master granted the martial artist an audience and told him to come by for tea the following day. The student complied and presented himself at the agreed time. The master told the student to sit and tell him his qualifications as he made the tea. The time involved in preparing tea was about 40 minutes as this was a prearranged ceremony and the student launched into a detailed description of his accomplishments ending just as the master had completed making the tea. At this point the master asked the student to hold out his cup. As the student held out his cup the master began pouring the tea. The tea gradually filled up the cup and the master continued pouring even as the tea was overflowing the cup and landing on the student. Finally the student had enough and cried out for the master to stop. Tea was now all over the student. The master stopped and gave the student a cloth to dry himself. Then the master said to the student. I am sorry that I cannot accept you as my student. From what you have told me your cup is full. There is no room for my teaching. Come back in a few years when you have emptied your cup.

I love this story, as it portrays most of us in most of the situations we face. I once came upon a karate instructor who obviously was more knowledgeable than my present instructor. I started coming to train with this instructor and wore the green belt that I had earned from my other instructor. After 2 sessions I was told by the instructor to put on a white belt to replace the green belt. This was too much for me to do at that moment in my life and I lost the opportunity to gain some valuable experience just because my cup was full.

We all need to empty our cups. Our training is useless unless approached from the right perspective. Spiritual growth, meaning our connection with the universe thru yoga or martial arts depends on this quality. Our awareness of our soul and the divine quality of that awareness will only manifest when we are prepared to give up that which we think we are. Picture this; we are standing on the edge of a vast field of grass. The grass seems to extend to infinity. We are the grass and our challenge is to, thru the proper training, discover that we are connected to the earth and not individual blades of grass. That connection opens up our vision. Our practice, bringing together mind body and soul results in a new awareness of spiritual growth. It’s as if we have taken off our sunglasses and are able to see that which was there all the time. Spiritual growth and our connection to our soul manifest in our daily life experiences. We get more sensitive to ourselves. We recognize our divine nature and act accordingly. We care for others and realize that what we do, even our thoughts, reverberate thru the universe. Can you imagine that? Our thoughts are actually intelligent energy traveling thru the universe. With our connection growing, our thoughts even change. Kindly thoughts manifest where ego used to surface. The mind calms, the body relaxes and our true nature shines forth.