The late teacher Ajahn Chah once said:
“You see this goblet? For me, this glass is already broken. I enjoy it; I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on a shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ But when I understand that this glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.”
On the surface, Ajahn Chah was making the statement that if he considers the glass to be already broken, then he can open his mind to be more present with it and appreciate the time he has with it. At the same time, if it breaks, he’s not so attached because he understands the natural course of it is to break.
From this we can take a lesson for our lives:
The question isn’t, is your glass half full or half empty. The question is, are you able to see the glass as already broken?
In other words, do you comprehend that our time here is short and eventually will pass?
Are you able to see that the label of half full or half empty – that you may be so identified with – is just a story in the mind that is also already broken and will eventually pass away?
If you understand this, you may sometimes find yourself lying in a field beyond half full or half empty, where your cup is completely empty ready to receive the wonders of life that are all around.
Take this goblet with you, allowing it to reflect awareness into the moments of your day.
Elisha Goldstein, PhD