Weekly Practice 43


Every week we profile one of the “Reflect to Create! “ practices from my book, they are chosen at random from a jar on my desk.  My invitation is for you to try it out if it speaks to you in some way.


Photo by Brian Patrick Tagalog on Unsplash


This week we are profiling a Zen Koan from The Prelude (from page 51 of my book).


Reflection needs us to stop in order to create the physical, emotional and soulful space for us to tune out of the white noise and to tune into what life is asking of us. The Prelude invites us “to pause or stop when we do not know a specific answer, or when we need to think more creatively about a question, an issue or a dilemma”. 


I have chosen this Zen Koan¹ as also a reminder to myself keep myself spacious during lock down. .. to avoid the temptation of rushing to fill my head, or my diary with stuff and to take downtime away from Zoom-land! 


I share it with you and invite you to reflect on how full your own cup is…


Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master.  People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom.  Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen.  He seldom turned any away.


One day an important man, a man used to command and obedience came to visit the master. ‘I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.’ The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way. The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, ‘Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?’ The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. ‘You are like this teacup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind.’


Have a go! 


Start with small steps.


Reflect on what you are noticing.


Please do share your stories so we can all learn together.


Join us on our  “Reflect to Create!”  Facebook group page.




¹ Downloaded 25th March 2017. Traditional Zen Kaon cited at http://bengtwendel.com/your-teacup-is-full-empty-your-cup/

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