Once upon a time, there lived a great master who had an apprentice. One day, the master invited his pupil to tea. The master himself poured tea into the student’s empty cup. After the cup was filled, the master continued to pour piping hot tea into the cup and it began to overflow. Tea spilled over into the saucer and onto the table.
“Master, what are you doing? My cup is full.”
“Yes, it is. A cup cannot be filled unless it is empty.”
This is not a new story. It’s not the first time it has been told, nor shall it be the last. It is, however, an important lesson for each of us in just about every aspect of life. Draining oneself of all expectation and presumption allows new ideas to be considered. This is not to say that everything must be accepted without question. On the contrary, an open heart and mind allows for more careful decision and deliberation. It allows for the transmutation of old thoughts and beliefs into a more complete view of life.
I have always loved writing and splattering my guts onto an empty page. However, it has mostly been in the comfort of my own home without exposing my innards for anyone else to see. It’s safer this way, you see. No one to judge or criticize. No one to point out that my thoughts are cliche’ or have already been written in a much more eloquent, profound way. Or worse, no one to tell me that I am flat out wrong.
Because that is my deepest fear: To be wrong. How could I be so daft as to overlook an important fact or not consider another facet of life? How could I not have carefully weighed all the options and formed a thought so unbiased and whole that it would be loved and accepted by everyone that reads it?
The truth is, that my thoughts and opinions will always be biased, depending on my mood, the time of day, where Mars is in the sky at the moment, whether I’ve done my yoga practice yet or not, what the weather is like outside, and if my feet are cold. Not all my thoughts and opinions will be loved and accepted by everyone. Some may even say that I am wrong.
It has taken me 31 years to come to terms with this. Although, I have accepted the possibility of being wrong, here is my remedy for overcoming my deepest fear: The Empty Cup, the cop out. With this disclaimer, I am free to say whatever I please and you have to at least consider it because if you don’t, you’re committing the worst offense imaginable (on this blog) – arriving and reading with a full cup.
Sometimes we are the teacher and sometimes we are the student. Our amount of expertise, experience, and intellect notwithstanding, because even the most learned among us still have lessons to learn. And even the most uneducated, dithering fool has lessons to teach.
If I have something to say, I will say it. It will be authentic, from my heart, and without regard to what anyone else thinks. It may be simple, but profound. It may be complex, but meaningless. But it will be mine.
So here is my empty cup, fresh and clean out of the dishwasher, presented to you. Here I am, ready to learn, ready to fall, and ready to get back up again.
I don’t care if I’m wrong. I don’t care if what I say has already been written. I don’t care if you like it or not. These are my words and I will write them with purpose, with abandon, and without apology.