A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor.
Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to hot coffee.
When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones.
While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and were eyeing each other’s cups.
“Now if life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn’t change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it.”
So folks, don’t let the cups drive you… enjoy the coffee instead.
So, what’s yours? Coffee or the cup?
There is a saying in Buddhist teachings, that all things in life are impermanent. Branded names on our wear and a high-profile career to boot, plastic-inspired beauty and an inherited sum of fortune likened to ahem, some Hilton girl on our dream-on! list, every material longings that we foolishly held so dearly to while living in the fast lane, all these will perish themselves once we’re gone. These are sufferings, worthwhile pleasures according to devil in disguise.
I personally believed that there’s nothing wrong with pursuing for whatever looks good, smells good, feels good, as long as we don’t ‘bound’ ourselves to the idea of such self-fulfillment. Ah, the art of non-attachment has never been any more relevant to this coffee cup story. Speaking of which, impermanence is not just about thinking twice to get another pair of Manolo Blahniks, but also what rein our thoughts (read: mule) most of the time. After all, it all begins in the mind, as what The Secret tells us. True.