The Business of Communication

Excerpt from the book “Gypsy Soul” by David Hughes,

Allow me to share a story with you.

Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and wide would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen. He seldom turned any away.

One day an important man, a man used to giving orders and having them followed came to visit the master. “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way.

The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea  rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”

The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind. Like this cup, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup”.

An important success strategy involves the way we receive information. Over time we have all built up filters that impair our ability to perceive correctly what is really being said. We all have one or more of these filters – confusion, bias, beliefs, judgment, ego, fear, prejudice, cynicism, delusion, pride – that cloud our judgment and prevent us from receiving information the way it was intended. It becomes imperative, on our road to reaching our highest potential, to recognize these limiting traits that we all possess. Recognition and admission become key strategies in dealing with these filters. When we are honest with ourselves and admit and recognize these filters we can begin to receive information clearly and concisely. When this happens we begin to see opportunities as they present themselves. We begin to discern clearly what is really being said and can act accordingly.


In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities,

in the expert’s there are few.

– Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

Knowledge is learning something every day.

Wisdom is letting something go every day.

– Zen Proverb

To be replenished, we need to keep emptying ourselves to receive more.

–        Bear Heart


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