A teaching I’ve been given over and over and over and over again from my Guru, is about listening and learning. Its one worth paying attention to.
It says there are five faults in the way we can listen, when we’re not being mindful. As a result, what we learn can be affected, reduced and/or limited.
The analogy is a pot you’re trying to pour water into. The water represents knowledge on offer. For example: a friend telling you something about their life; formal study; or, listening to a yoga teacher.
These are five ways that make it hard to get water into the pot:
- It’s upside down!
So, you’re trying to put water in the pot, but you’ve failed to realise its upside down. The opening for the water is just not available.
- The lid’s on tight!
Sorta like the first one, although the pot’s the right way up. But the lid has been firmly secured. Nothing can get in or out.
- Crack in the pot!
Yep, we can put the water in, but whoops, there’s a crack/hole and its going right out again, not being retained.
- Already full!
You wanna put water in, but it’s just spilling over the sides. The pot’s full up and there’s no room for any more water!
- Poison in the pot
The pot’s open, there’s no holes in it, it’s the right way up… but a drop of poison found a way in. So no matter what you do, the water is tainted.
Now, I’ve just spent a really lovely evening with a girl I used to work with. We haven’t seen each other since before I went to Thailand in July last year. But we’ve been in touch via email, text etc.
Never mind that we were sitting in a rather lush little wine bar, with delicious and expensive wine on the menu (everything’s good there) and some equally delicious and tasty cheeses to nibble on… we had such a fantastic conversation.
Completely open, say-anything-you-like discussion on life, the universe, everything.
Listening to her story (where she ended up quitting her job after attracting the attention of an aggressive crazy dude in the office and taking off to travel for a month in India), I could see the whole hey I don’t have a job or an income thing, from another angle.
I can choose to be annoyed at losing my job before I was ready, and stressed about getting another one. Or, I can do everything in my power to find work (including setting myself up as a freelancer), and then the rest of the time… enjoy myself! Yeah, why not, eh?
Which brought to mind the plants I’ve been re-potting lately, and thoughts about gardening in general. Y’know, about how you need to replenish nutrients in the soil for healthy plants, ensure they have enough water, light and so on.
And thinking about that brought me back to the story about the pot… and listening and learning, but also, making sure the soil I’m renewing at the moment is fresh and not poisoned. And… giving myself optimal conditions for thriving.
Makes sense, eh?
GO! Smell the flowers said:
Thanks for this article – a very timely one and one I can relate to right now as my old soil is on the compost in the garden with a new load in ready to bed down with…
I’m redundant with ya – it’s happened 4 a reason!
A least we’ve got more TIME, right?
Svasti…I think I may need to repot alot of plants. My pot is cracked,upside down,inside out,empty,screwed on to tight…. and so all over the place. I guess me personally, I have alot of gardening to do in my garden of earthly delights….oh boy I’m screwed. Thanks for the reminder……I really need to be reminded.
Works for me…though I’ve got more than a drop of poison in my post and it’s a bitch trying to get it out….
“In my pot” I meant…though perhaps this is a Freudian slip, so it shouldn’t be changed…am I allowing poison into my blog posts? Hope not…
I don’t think you need to worry about that, Jay.
I’m with Melinda, doubt very much there’s poison in your beautiful posts… it was just a typo and one I woulda fixed for ya! 😉
Michelle (Artscapes) said:
Really thoughtful post. Makes one think that sometimes one needs to look at things from a whole new angle….
I love the pot analogy when it comes to mindfulness–and I think we have all experienced the pot being cracked, too full, lid on too tight, etc. The last one–about the poison rang very true with me. When I was early in recovery, things were going well–I was clean, in school, and seemingly my life was great. But there was something wrong–and it was that bit of poison in the pot, which needed to be addressed before I could develop into a truly happy person. And the problem with that small bit of poison–it contaminates everything else–until everything else is somewhat marred by its presence.
I could picture you in the wine bar and eating the cheese. I am glad you had a good convo with your friend.
The best part of this analogy to listening and learning is that it give us tools for self-assessment. I.E: Can I not hear this because my pot is poisoned, or because my pot is cracked? Do I need to wash this pot, or get a whole new one? So many times I see a flawed situation and flip because I have NO idea how to fix it, but I like the method of analysis. Thx.
P.S–My company has a pretty guide to freelancing: http://is.gd/lMUf and Mashable posted 85 great freelance sites yesterday: http://mashable.com/2009/03/03/freelance/
@GSTF – Yep, and the key is making sure we use our time wisely. And it doesn’t have to all be about getting a new job. We can have fun, do stuff we always wanted to do and so on. 🙂
@JB – I really think you’re giving yourself a hard time. This post isn’t meant to make you feel bad – we all do these things to ourselves, but the whole point is, you can check in, and try to realign how you’re perceiving the world. There’s not a person alive who hasn’t had these experiences!
@Jay – We’ve all got poison of some description going on. The reason for saying ‘a drop’ is, that’s all it takes to ruin the water. But please, you work so hard at self awareness. Here’s another person giving themselves a hard time unnecessarily!!
@Michelle (Artscapes) – Always. Its always good to throw everything up in the air and take a fresh view…
@Melinda – Hey Melinda, I’ll bet the ‘drop of poison’ was an issue for you in recovery! Talk about a tough slog to drag yourself into an environment where you can thrive!!
I really think most of us in this life have some kind of ‘poison in the pot’, so to speak. This analogy can be used for much wider purposes than just about learning and listening, as you’ve relayed above. And yeah, if there’s an internal view we hold that keeps us feeling bad about ourselves, then one would call that poison, for sure!
@RB – Thank you very much for dropping by my blog and commenting. Reflection on our actions and behaviour is always good. And yes, this analogy works for that sort of self-analysis, too.
Thanks also for the links, will check them our, as well as your blog!! 😀
I love your blog, it is purely inspirational. Please check out my blog when you get a chance!
John D said:
Svasti – This is a wonderful post – and I’m sure timely for so many no matter what state they’re in. For me, it’s a kind of affirmation. Fortunately, my wife is a brilliant gardener so all I see in pots or planted beds in half a dozen gardens are beautiful things growing in every season. And that’s the way I feel now, after years of trying to pick up broken pieces – I can see all the exciting possibilities and have gotten away from work that was stressing me to death.
@John D – Why thanks, I’m glad you like it! Really, there’s so many of us out there that really need to take better care of our peace of mind, not just our physical health. 🙂