Broker Check

The Teacup Part II

July 16, 2021

If you missed part one, please check it out here before continuing with this part two.

Now that you’ve had a bit of time to sit with one of my favorite Zen stories, let me tell you why I hold it in such high regard. For me, the story of the teacup shows how much I shut out when I let my pre-conceived notions get in the way of my current experience. It’s so easy to cut off or dismiss what’s happening in front of me just because of my own mental baggage. The story of the teacup reminds me to let those thoughts go, that I should let the experience happen and take it on its own terms rather than the ones I give it. The story tells me that even if something falls well within my wheelhouse it can still yield new and surprising things for me.

Yet I think it sells the story short to confine its wisdom only to those thoughts and experiences that I’m already comfortable or familiar with. Even if I’ve never experienced something, I still bring pre-conceived notions to the table. I’ve never been to a country music concert and a big part of what stops me from going is what I think I know about it. The story of the teacup tells me I should acknowledge I really don’t know what I’m talking about and that I should actually go and experience the thing before offering judgement.

Ultimately, I think the story of the teacup is a very concrete way of demonstrating what I think people mean when they say to be “mindful” or to practice “mindfulness”. The goal isn’t really to do or practice anything. Instead, the goal is to actively not do anything, to have as blank a slate as possible when experiencing something, whether something as well worn as the commute to work or as novel as going to a music concert in an unfamiliar genre.

If you would like to empty your teacup, and try working with me as your financial advisor, reach out! And in the meantime, don’t try to fill your teacup when it’s already full.