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By Michael Jackson, Altrincham Interfaith Group
4:02pm Thursday 12th April 2012 in Thought for the week
Are you an overflowing tea cup?
I was present the other day for nearly an hour, when a psychiatrist was trying to help her patient.
I was very impressed by how patient, considerate and sensitive she was in trying to find a constructive way to motivate the patient.
Most of all this involved the art of careful listening, which seems to be a rare quality.
It reminded me of the story of the English professor who visited a Zen master for afternoon tea. The professor was holding forth with one theory after another when a young monk brought in the tea, setting the tea tray down before the Zen master who poured one cup and then poured the second cup. After filling it to the brim, the Zen master continued so that tea spilled over into the saucer.
The professor stopped his expositions and said: “Do you realise you are spilling the tea when the cup is full?”
“Yes”, replied the Zen master. "This cup is like your mind, it is so full there is no room for anything else!"
Listening leads to a creative, considered and constructive reaction.
The tendency to reply, instantly, to emails often provokes an adverse response whereas allowing a letter to be on your desk for a few days while you ponder how to put your response can be quite helpful.