“This Cup is Already Broken” (and Other Words of Wisdom)

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thiscupAuthor Geneen Roth wrote of being on an extended meditation retreat. At one point, the guru held up his favorite tea cup and stated, “As far as I’m concerned, this cup is already broken.” He went on to explain that nothing is permanent (the cup will inevitably break, fade in color, get lost or stolen), so we must appreciate it in this moment without attaching ourselves to it. Attachment, he explained, is the root of suffering.

I’ve heard a lot over the years about non-attachment and being present in the moment, but the analogy of one’s favorite tea cup being “already broken” really spoke to me. I thought of  how we cling to youth, beauty, our parents, our children, our status, and how none of it will last, no matter how fiercely we protect it. We will get old, our parents and pets will die, our children will grow up and leave us. No matter what we do, things will change. And what if that was okay?

Seeing all change as ultimately okay and inevitable (like the tea cup being broken) is oddly comforting. There’s nothing to resist, deny, or panic about when you accept life on life’s terms. When we accept that change, decline, and brokenness are not optional, we experience freedom. We can feel appreciation and gratitude for having what we have right now. We also realize that with every ending is a new beginning (there are many amazing tea cups out there, when the time comes to buy a new one!)
This week, I ask you to consider what favorite tea cup you need to see as already broken. What do you worry about or cling to?
If your child is beginning kindergarten, middle school, or high school, and you’re grieving the loss of your baby, take a moment to imagine that he/she is already grown up and gone. Feel the sadness or whatever it brings up for you, and then come back to this moment and enjoy what you have right now.
If you are in your forties or fifties and worry about aging, imagine that you are in your eighties and have lost your good looks or health. Then return to this moment, and appreciate the body and life you have today.
 
Thanks for visiting, and I hope to see you again very soon.

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