Rick Hanson PhD

My Cup Runneth Over

"Once upon a time, a scholar came to visit a saint. After the scholar had been orating and propounding for a while, the saint proposed some tea. She slowly filled the scholar's cup: gradually the tea rose to the very brim and began spilling over onto the table, yet she kept pouring and pouring. The scholar burst out: "Stop! You can't add anything to something that's already full!" The saint set down the teapot and replied, "Exactly." In his Psychology Today blog, "Your Wise Brain," Rick Hanson writes about creating and appreciating emptiness as a contrast to the often over-full lives we lead. You know what I mean- running from appointment to appointment, answering emails one after another, piling more stuff into your closet- a life without time and space to reflect and ruminate on life itself.

Hanson writes that we must consciously step back from this nonstop pace and learn how to put space between all that we do. Breathe. Pause. Allow for thought. Enjoy doing or thinking one thing at a time.

Here's a great quote from Hanson's blog: " Drop the stuff you can no longer afford to lug around. At sea level, you can run with a brick in your backpack, but if you're hiking on a mountain, that brick's got to go. Similarly, most of us have some habits, indulgences, ideas, grudges, or fixations that were kind of OK at one time but now - with changing circumstances (such as juggling more balls, raising a family, aging) - are wearing you down and really need to go. What's your own brick? What would you gain by emptying it out of your own backpack?"

I'm looking forward to using some of these suggestions to add more space to my life. Will you?