Monday, September 21, 2009

Empty your cup?

Last Friday, I read about a 53-year young middle-age man afflicted with a rare form of amnesia. About seven weeks ago, he walked out of a Seattle, Washington park with no idea of who he was and how he got there. Now he has some memories that are returning including those of living in China and Europe. His estranged sister provided police with an expired passport and driver’s license that established his identity but he is frightened and wonders if he will ever be reconciled with the man people say he is.

Reading this news article reminded me of my curiosity with amnesia and what it would be like if that condition one day struck me. My curiosity is probably just another example of “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome, something we all periodically experience in the thick of things during challenging times. A yearning of wanting to erase our mental classroom chalkboard cluttered with the acts and facts of our lives from years of our journey down both the roads heavily traveled and off the beaten path.

This amnesia victim shared “I’m living in this state of confusion because I’ve got this knowledge, but where has it been used, where is it going to be used, and am I going to be able to retain it?”

What would life be like if my profession, interests, family, friends and all my past beliefs, memories and thoughts were bundled in a large bag and tossed off a cliff at the top of the highest mountain? I can only imagine the adventure and suspense of exploring life with no baggage or benefits of my life previously lived. The romanticist in me finds it exciting but the pragmatist finds it unimaginable. What about you?

Reading this news article reminded me of the story of a young man who became very excited about Zen Buddhism and read every book on it he could find and saved enough money to travel to Japan. When he met a famous Zen master in Japan, the young man could not restrain himself and began telling the master about all the books he had read and all the questions he wanted answered.

While the young man zealously talked, the master simply smiled and poured him a cup of tea. Noticing that the master kept pouring tea well after the teacup was full, the young man interrupted his self-absorbed monologue and said, “Um, excuse me, Master. The teacup is full.” To this the master replied, still smiling, “Likewise also you, my son. If you wish to be filled, you must first empty your cup.”

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum


Anonymous said...

This is a fascinating topic.

Consider this:

You wake up in what seems to be a cheap motel room. You are fully dressed in a shirt and slacks. But your shoes, a pair of Nike sneakers, are under a nearby chair. You feel refreshed and relaxed. But that relaxed feeling disappears when you realize that you don’t know who you are or why you are in this particular motel room.

You look at a clock on the bed stand. It’s 6:00 AM, and there is a card on your bed stand that says that checkout time is 10:00 AM. You search your pockets. You have only a wallet, sans identification.

There is exactly $100 dollars in your wallet. A quick search of your room confirms that you have no luggage. You open a window. A fresh, sweet breeze blows in. The air is cool but not cold. And the leaves on a nearby tree are still green, so it’s summer.

But you still have no a clue as to who you are. Although your emotions are under control, something tells you that you are in danger.

Now what? Your intuition warns you not to go to the front desk in order to inquire about who you are. You sense the need for extreme caution.

So what’s your plan? How will you determine your identity? You look into the mirror over the sink in the bathroom. Your reflection tells you that you are a white male about six feet tall with graying hair. You feel healthy and strong and judge yourself to be around 55 to 60 years of age.

Survival is the first order of the day. You need information about who you are, but are you safe in going to the police? What’s going on? Are you being pursued by the authorities? Maybe people other than the police are pursuing you. Why can’t you remember? Have you been drugged or injured? You, certainly, don’t feel either sick or injured.

Wild scenarios go through your head. You know you need time to organize your thoughts, but your resources are extremely limited. Your money won’t go far. Should you attempt to stay in the city? For some reason you sense that there is a wilderness area near by. Should you procure some camping essentials and blend into the woods in order to gather your thoughts? That would be an option. It would be a way to gain some time.

You quickly don your shoes and exit the room. You sense safety in movement.

Pierini Fitness said...

Well thank you Anonymous for what has got to be the longest comment ever at Pierini Fitness.