‘Empty your Cup and Taste Somebody Else’s Tea”
I want to share with you a recent experience I had involving a wonderful DVD set by Eckhart Tolle called, ‘Stillness Amidst The World’. What a truly rewarding viewing experience it was and continues to be, watching and listening to Eckhart’s lectures on ‘The Power of Now’.
The experience I wanted to share though involves what I call our tendency to ‘filter’ and accept, or not, certain information based on ‘the packaging’ in which it is presented. In this instance, my wife Judy and I had purchased Eckhart’s DVD’s and I had put one in the player with the view to watching it whilst she was out. Anyway, I probably watched about 5 minutes of it before getting bored and turning it off. I mean I’m watching this guy who is far from my ideas of a ‘spiritual’ teacher. He is certainly no physical specimen and he had this kind of geeky little laugh. Anyway, when Judy arrived home, I mentioned that I was thinking of returning the DVD set due to the somewhat ‘ordinary’ nature of Eckhart’s appearance and my initial impressions of the intro of the lecture. A week later I had all but forgotten about it until Judy remarked how she had watched the whole lecture and how great the DVD was and implored me to sit and watch it again. She kept saying, “I know you will really love it”. Well, to cut an already long story short, I reluctantly sat down and this time checked my ‘pre-judgement’ at the door and as a result, I have probably watched the whole lecture at least 20 times and it has become one of my all-time favourite DVD’s. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, how wrong was I in my judgement and possible dismissal of this knowledge based almost solely on the look of the presenter”. Another time I remember, early in my Martial Arts journey, being introduced to a so called ‘Master’ in the Arts and my immediate ‘pre-judgement’ of this person’s ability, due to my initial impressions, based pretty much solely on his physical look. He was quite overweight at the time and somewhat out of shape. Anyway, thank goodness, through circumstances, I ended up getting to know and train with this person, and since then he became and still is such an incredible influence on my life and my Martial Arts to this day. I later came to find out that at the time of our first meeting, he had just gotten over a huge illness that would have finished a lesser person, hence his physical condition. Wow, another amazing opportunity for growth put in front of me and almost lost due to my shallow assessment of the ‘packaging’ of this messenger.
My point is, how many times do we accept, or more importantly, not accept wonderful opportunities for knowledge based on the exterior of the source. I know that so often, for a lot of people, the importance of a ‘title’ or ‘letters’ after one’s name, or how the ‘presenter’ of whatever information is presented will so often dictate how receptive we are to listen and receiving this information.
I believe that we get so caught up with our own ‘filtering’ due to our past experiences, good and bad, that we often miss the opportunity to-’Empty our Cup and Taste Somebody else’s Tea’. To be totally open and in the moment, without clouding our perceptions with our own past or future experiences or ‘stories’ as Eckhart calls it, is something I now strive to do as much as possible in my life. To try to actively ‘listen’ to someone we may meet without thinking that our opinion or what we have to say is more important. Otherwise I believe we could very well miss the opportunity of receiving some wonderful and enlightening insights meant for our lives, delivered to us by ‘Teachers’ disguised in what looks to us like an ‘Ordinary Soul’s’ exterior.