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Do ever feel like you have brought your entire past into your relationships and life?

As human beings this is what we do.  You could call this emotional survival where we put up walls to protect a perceived threat to our emotional well-being.  Something happens to us and our perception of the event triggers an interpretation by our mind.  This story now becomes the reality and we bring this forward into our present.  subconsciously or consciously we build barriers to ensure this perceived event NEVER happens again.  Our mind tells us to never feel this pain again.

Here is the reality.  Something happened in our life and it is now over.  Almost guaranteed the event was not the traumatic story that we created, but an event that we interpreted with our added meaning.  We now live our lives off of these thoughts and feelings that are not real.  We live our lives from an event that happened long ago.  We carry this forward like a cloak, a mask and we do not reveal our true selves.  We hide behind our walls and we wonder why the world seems so distant, why no one gets to know our true selves.  It is as if we are walking around with our swords drawn ready to attack at any moment as the world is a dangerous place.

If you perceive the world as dangerous and people as hurtful then you will win this game.  Things will show up in your life to prove to you that you are right and the world is out to get you.  You will withdraw further and you will create an island behind the walls you have built.  You will not create in your life as your mind will defeat everything and label it as impossible.  The world will feel heavy and you will hide under all of the baggage you are carrying.  You will miss the love and beauty that is in front of you at every moment.  Your concern will be on self and these perceived thoughts, feelings and emotions.  You will feel lost and defeated and live a life without hope.  Life will pass and you will be disconnected from the source.

At our root, beyond these thoughts and feelings we are LOVE.  We are all connected as one, brothers and sisters with all living things.  In order for us to have this unity and connection we must first clear away all of our baggage.  We must first REMOVE the walls that we have built.  There is the story of the old Zen master who was visited by a university professor.  The professor wanted to know everything the master had to teach as soon as possible.  The Zen master brought out some freshly brewed tea and began to pour into an empty cup.  Soon, the cup overflowed and the master kept pouring.  Finally the professor said uneasily “it’s full, no more can get in.”  In this the master was saying we must empty our cup in order to learn.  In the context of bringing our past forward, we must empty our cup to come from nothing.  It is from nothing that we create.  From nothing we can create in any circumstance.  Life becomes possible.  Energy fills our veins.  Our context then becomes who are we NOT to do or be anything in life. Our lives become filled with purpose and intention.  From nothing we are connected and no longer have space for past stories and misery.  We then can create our world.

The Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching tells us the same,

We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house, but it is the inner space that makes it livable.

We work with being but non-being is what we use.

Get present in your life where you have built walls.  Get present where you are bringing your past into life and into your relationships.  Clear the past and bring nothingness into your life, this non-being is what we use in life.  This is where we create, where we can truly be with others and where we are present in the NOW.  This is where we come from a place of love.  This is our connection.

Call to Action:

  • Reflect on your life and relationships.  Where are you stopped?  Where are you bringing your past into these situations?  Get present to what you bring into these areas of your life.
  • Get clear on these matters.  Clear the past.  Talk to the people involved in these experiences.  Get clear on the matter.  Take down your walls.  Remember until you empty your cup you cannot create.
  • Bring nothing, bring emptiness into your life and relationships.  Actively bring nothing into your life and you will come from a place of presence and love.  Anything you want will become possible.
  • Be LOVE.

Thomas D. Craig

Author A Cup of Buddha