Saturday, February 12, 2011

What I Know for Sure

A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfull! No more will go in!" the professor blurted. "You are like this cup," the master replied. "How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

My mind feels like that cup sometimes. So full. Overflowing full. I have a hard time remembering things. My daughter says I have the memory of a gnat. She’s right. I think it’s because I have so much useless stuff stuck in my memory and I can’t find the delete button. I can remember my childhood phone number, but I can’t remember to pick up juice on the way home. When I try to remember something new, my mind plays a familiar recording. “The message inbox for the number you are calling is full.”

There is just too much information out there that I’m trying to store in here. Not only grocery lists, but also information about truth. I just finished a book by someone who thinks he has God all figured out. The title isn’t important because there are a million books like that. There are a million books like that because there are a million people who believe they know the truth.

Oprah Winfrey writes a column for her magazine every month called “What I Know For Sure.” Whenever I pick up her magazine in the checkout line, I marvel at the notion that at least once a month, she knows something for sure. No wonder she “makes bank,” as my daughter says.

So if these people really know the truth, then why don’t they all agree? Not only do they not agree, but some will argue vehemently about the rightness of their positions. Some will even kill each other.

The Tao Te Ching teaches, “Wise men don’t need to prove their point. Men who need to prove their point aren’t wise.” I must be very wise, because not only do I not need to prove my point, but I’m not sure I even have a point to prove.

You can’t organize truth. That’s like trying to put a pound of water into wrapping paper and shaping it. –Bruce Lee

reposted from archives


  1. Whew! when I saw the title of this post, I was worried that you were going to say you knew something for sure... the only thing I know for sure is that I don't.

    “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs

  2. Galen, I believe that what we need to remember resides in our hearts, the brain collects way to much information now that we have access to an abundance of it. So what if you forget the juice on the way home, you bring home love with you don't you? ;-)

    Naturally Oprah remembers or knows something once a month, she can afford to pay people to write out what she knows... anybody with money can do that! lol

  3. Wonderful quotes :) it really gives something to think about on a Sunday morning. Have a nice one!

  4. Oh I like Bruce Lees comment and I agree with him. This post makes me think also, that you are very wise....and yeah if only I did know a few more things for sure. But it seems often when I think I have something down, something comes along and changes that theory! It's funny about remembering your first phone number, I do too and we moved away from there when I was ten....funny the things we keep in our memory bank! Excellent post! Thanks!

  5. Yes, Galen, you are very wise. I love both your writing and your perspective :)

  6. "makes bank".....What I know for sure....I always learn something new from my kids in how to talk "the lingo".


    The truth is how people perceive it. We all have different definitions what we think "the truth" is. I avoid people like that. It's one thing to voice it, but cram it down your throat and claim your truth is right is another.

  7. Each person has their own path to "their" truth. The paths may vary but they all lead to the same place, enlightenment. When you meet a neighbor on their quest, smile and honor the path they are taking. They will in turn honor yours.
    Love and Peace

  8. Alexia--I should have titled the post What I Don't Know for Sure! Great quote from Jobs.

    darlin--Next time I forget something (which will probably be in the next five minutes!), I will shrug it off with "I am bringing the love!" That is a great perspective. Thanks!

    Bz--Thanks. Hope you have a nice Sunday, too!

    Karen S.--Wouldn't it be great to have those young memories again? I joke with my daughter that she is my memory now.

    Kara--Thank you!

    ryoko861--Yeah, like, I sweat the lingo. Wish I made bank like O. Just sayin'...

    Manzanita--I like what you said about all paths leading to enlightenment and honoring our neighbor's path. Lovely.

  9. What I know for sure is that I enjoy reading your posts!

  10. What I know for sure is that today is February 15, 2011 as for the rest, It is just my opinion.
    It do love the way you make someone think with this post. Thank you and wishing you a happy day for sure!

  11. I should have read this when trying to decide what job to take! To think, either one might have been a right decision and I nearly killed myself with fear of making the wrong one....

  12. Alida, JJ, Debbie, and Therese--Thanks for your comments. Therese--congratulations on your new job.


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