22 September, 2014

The Wisdom in an Overflowing Cup

"In midlife, it is tempting to succumb to the idea that because you have more years behind you than ahead, what you already know will carry you along."~Jon Katz, from Running to the Mountain
Once upon a time, an old Buddhist monk sat with a young monk who was eager and full of questions. The teacher did not acknowledge the young monk immediately and continued to pour tea into a cup without stopping. Soon, the tea was overflowing all over the table. The young monk gasped and was stunned by his teacher's actions. He did not understand what his teacher was doing.  The teacher stopped, looked at the young monk and said, "like this cup, you are full of opinions and speculations. To see the light of wisdom, you must first empty the cup."

Our modern society has become increasingly more urban. The horse now competes with many forms of recreation, some of which did not exist as recent as fifteen years ago. Mobile phones, the Internet and social media have revolutionized our method of communication with each other and set new standards and expectations of  responsiveness. Our world of Arabian horses has been hit hard and is deeply troubled, impacted by many of the same factors that other breeds have also been affected. We have an over supply of horses and not enough people who want them. Add an aging population of horse owners, meaning the people who were breeding, buying and selling the majority of horses, and as this population retires, what further impact will it have on the horse world? It's scary. I think we are all the young monk. Breeders and enthusiasts are worried about the future and I think we have far more questions than answers. I wonder if our cup is overflowing with preconceived ideas, philosophies and opinions, that have more to do with the safety of a glorified past and nothing to do with the times we find ourselves in now. So, thinking back to our little story, do you need to empty your cup first, to make room for new wisdom?

1 comment:

JoeF said...

Good question Ralph. This little story reminds us of the importance of planning ahead by first selecting the largest possible cup. This leaves us room for more to savor and contemplate. Savoring more tea makes the journey to the depths of wisdom more fascinating.