Showing posts from November, 2021

First Empty Your Cup

  I’ve often found many of the classic stories from the Zen Buddhist tradition to be very insightful, helping to trigger useful changes in perspective, sometime for myself, sometimes for a client.   This one has been on my mind recently: Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!” “Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup? — Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings by Paul Reps, Nyogen Senzaki     In my work as a counsellor and trainer over the last while, I have been becoming more and more painfully aware of how much we (our whole society, including counsellors, psychotherapists, psych