Friday, July 11, 2008

What helps you stay open?

I can only be open by emptying out the clutter of distractions that I have periodically collected without noticing. When I am in this state, it seems my attention is scattered over my accumulation of mental/emotional trinkets that have magnetically attached themselves to me. I am unable to find my center. I am as a dancer out of balance, awkward, stumbling, likely to injure myself or others (in body, heart or spirit) if I continue that way.

Not surprisingly, in the times when I am unavailable to truly be open to others, I am also unavailable to be open to my authentic self.

An old story tells of an individual with a very busy mind going to talk with a teacher about Zen. The teacher listened intently and began to make tea as this fellow talked on about his thoughts, concerns, wishes, and imaginings. When the tea was ready, the master began to pour into her visitor's cup. Once the cup was full, she kept on pouring. Eventually, the fellow could watch no more and broke from his soliloquy to say: "Stop, stop! The cup is overfull! It can hold no more!"

The teacher responded: "Like this cup, you are full of all manner of yourself. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

Oddly enough, it seems that most often the things I have so filled my attention with are not even things that I find that interesting—in fact much to the contrary—bills coming due, aggravations of the workday, things that have not gone as I planned, and dreams for the future. Each of these were things I needed to consider, but forgot to “put them down” once I had given them due consideration. Now and again, I am forced to realize the buildup, and do a thorough housecleaning—heart and mind—thinking the job is done—no need to concern myself with that for a while. However, without regular tidying/emptying, the next think I know the cup if full again and I am not taking in what anyone else is saying, not perceptive of the feelings of those around me (or myself).

For me, the best way of emptying my cup is either mediation or a walk in nature. Anything that will allow me to be completely passive will do it, allowing the clouds to come and go, without comment, concern, or contemplation—just a submissive lake beneath them, neither added to nor subtracted from by their reflection.

What helps you stay open?
What practices help you keep an open mind or stay open to the thoughts and feelings of others?

Words do not contain truth, but may reflect the truth that you hold within.
This is my truth. Only you can determine if there is any value in it for you.

C.G. Walters primarily writes fiction that focuses on the multidimensionality of our loves and our lives. His current novel, Sacred Vow is a metaphysical novel about a man who responds to the mysterious call of [his soulmate], opening the way to redefinition of both himself and his understanding of the world around him…Highly recommended. —Midwest Book Review.

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