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A respectable English professor went to Tibet in order to meet the famous Zen master and learn about the world and life from him. And while the master was preparing tea, the professor tried to impress him with his knowledge of Zen. He cited the great Zen thinkers, was comparing their conclusions, and analyzed their influence and importance for humanity.

And the master was serving the tea.

He placed an empty cup before the professor and started pouring tea into it. Having filled the cup up to the top Zen master continued pouring the tea into the same cup. For a moment professor hesitated to ask him why he was doing it – as if he didn’t see the cup is already full – however, he couldn’t resist and finally commented: “The cup is already full; there’s no available place in it for more of the tea!”

The master replied, “Such is the state of your mind as well; until you empty it, you won’t be able to understand the Zen wisdom.”


Regardless of whether it was our personal, business, or spiritual development, until we are able to create the “space” for receiving a new knowledge/information in our mind, the only knowledge we will be able to receive is the one which is capable of sifting through our existing mental filters. With such an approach, we prevent ourselves from experiencing the “new” and we are haunted by the sense that we are running around in circles, when, in fact, we want out of the circle! If we are walking around with green-colored sunglasses, everything we see around us will have a green undertone or nuance to it, everything will be painted green.

So, if you wish to get to know and investigate new perspectives, it’s not enough to only find new information, but it is also necessary to be the person capable of receiving the new information. Hence, if you wish to learn something new, “switch” to the beginner’s mind. Read, look or listen as if it was for the first time. Throw out all the prejudices that you might have. For a moment, forget that you know anything about the topic you want to know better and create a feeling that you haven’t heard anything about it never in your entire life – regardless of your previous experience. We often heard it said that in the beginner’s mind there are countless possibilities, and experts have only a few.

Our past experiences oftentimes help us a lot because they enable us to do things easier and quicker, things that would otherwise take us too much time and energy. Automatism we reach through experience helps us stay directed toward further development instead of focusing on the starting steps. However, this very automatism is what closes our mind to receiving the “new” and what dims our perception.

Hence, the next time you want, for example, to receive a new spiritual insight, develop your business or start meeting people of different profile with regards to love and business relationships, bear in mind that it’s not only about new persons in your life or new information, but also you, as a person, that is, the state of your mind is also a crucial factor.

Only the beginner’s mind can see outside of the box!

© Tomislav Tomic – 2021.