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Director of Marketing Anita Spicer Goff's blog
2 minutes reading time (453 words)

Close Your Eyes....What Do you Hear?

I just read a story about a Japanese master who spoke with a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. The Japanese master served tea and when he poured his visitor’s cup, he kept on pouring until the cup spilled over. The professor watched the cup overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It’s full and no more will go in!” exclaimed the professor. And the master said quietly, “Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”

Reading this story made me think about the episodes of Kung Fu I watched back in the early 70’s. In this show, Kwai Chang Caine (played by David Carradine) was the orphaned son of an American man and a Chinese woman in 19th century China. As a child, he trained at a monastery where he grew up to become a priest and martial arts expert. Flashbacks were used to recall his childhood lessons at the monastery from his teacher, Master Po, who was blind. In these flashbacks, Master Po called his young student "Grasshopper" in reference to a scene in the pilot episode:

Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Master Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Caine: No.
Master Po: Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?
Caine: No. Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Master Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?


I guess both of these are reminders of how little we really pay attention to life. We might ask someone a question, but our mind hardly stops churning in order to hear what the response is because our attention is already focused on something else. We complain about the incessant heat, but fail to notice the birds chirping or the flowers blooming or the gardens ripe for harvesting. Our hustling, bustling lives are so full of noise and people that we rarely really hear and see what’s going on around us. Because of this, we very often miss out on some spectacular - albeit simple - everyday things. 


Let’s challenge ourselves to slow down every day and take a 60-second respite from the craziness of our world. Just 60 seconds. Find a comfy chair, sit with your feet on the floor in a relaxed position, close your eyes, and just breathe. Let the out-breath be twice as long as the in-breath. Just breathe. We have 86,400 seconds in a day. Why not take 60 of those seconds for a mini meditation right now? Do you hear your heartbeat? Do you hear the grasshopper at your feet? It's kind of nice, isn't it?


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