The Wisdom of a Glass Half Full


You will say, “Alright already, fill the glass up.  Who wants to be cheated with half a glass?”

The more moderate of you will say, “Of course half full is good.  That is the middle way.”

This post is not about the crazy wisdom of over doing it, or the middle way, but something else.

Bring your ear closer and I will tell you a story:

There was this university professor who knew everything about Zen.  And now some of you may be thinking why is she talking about Zen again?  Because Zen is like that magical trout slippery fish that always gets away.

Bear with me awhile…

So this university professor was well learned about all things Zen and went and saw this Zen monk to tell him what he knew. The monk listened politely as this professor went on and on about all of these things.  And as is custom, the monk was serving tea.  The professor held out his cup, all the while talking, expounding his great knowledge.  All of a sudden the professor noticed that his hand was getting wet from the monk overflowing his tea cup.

“Ah! Stop!” He said.

The monk put down the teapot.

“Why did you do that?” the professor asked.

“How can I give you any more knowledge when you already know everything?” the monk replied; wiping his hand on a clean, linen cloth.

This idea is really about what we think we know versus what we don’t.  Do we think we know everthing?  Of course not. But we do have our ideas about things. And they get in the way.  We assume things.  Because of our conditioning.

Karen Swim developed a beautiful post about assumptions.  Please read it to understand how you mind can actually act as a roadblock instead of a tool to help you move forward.

If you do not operate with an open mind, with a mind as open and vast as space, you will cling to the things that bind you.

And these attachments will hold you down and hinder your thought processes, and so of course, your writing – or your photography, or whatever art form you practice.

I think that operating with a full mind with hamper you in all types of art forms, but I have most noticed it in the realm of fiction.  If you try to force yourself on your characters they balk and become flat.

And a full mind will flatten things until they are lifeless.

If you can bring yourself to the place that says “I don’t know,” you will enjoy the wisdom of a glass half full.  You will be set free of everything you think you know and how it should go.

Thank you very much.

Photocredit: © Ellen Wilson

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