If you want to receive my tea, you must keep your cup empty

Positive change requires letting go of old patterns and taking a fresh approach. It demands going beyond our preconceived ideas. A story about the relationship of a teacher and student illustrates this principle. A student who thought he had it “all fgured out” would visit his teacher each day for personal lessons about life. Despite the teacher’s attempts to share her life experience, the student resisted. One day the teacher took a different approach. The teacher asked the student if he would like some tea. The teacher proceeded to set the tea table and brought in a huge pot of piping hot tea. She not only flled the student’s cup, but once the cup was full, she continued to pour. Tea overfowed, streaming onto the table and the beautiful carpet. Shocked, the student jumped up from his chair and started screaming at the teacher, “Stop! You must be crazy! You’re ruining everything! Can’t you see what you are doing?” The teacher continued her pouring as if the student weren’t present until the entire pot was empty. Only then did she look calmly at the student and respond, “If you want to receive my tea, you must keep your cup empty.”

Like a wise student, we can gain insight only if we are open to change. Change is always our teacher, pointing new directions, suggesting new options, testing our potentialities. Change challenges our current reality by forcing a new reality to rush in. If we’re open to it, if our cup is empty, new possibilities fow into our lives. If we’re not open to change, we respond to it like an enemy we have to fend off.

Source: Leading with Agility by Kevin Cashman | ChangeThis, January 2009

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