I came upon this story today – and thought it most fitting for the Christmas season.
Sometimes, we worry about having ‘the best’ or the most. I see a good deal of comparing going on right now, particularly as we look to be sure each person on our Christmas list received the ‘right’ gift or we spent the same amount or each child got the same number of gifts to open.
I’m curious about what you might see in the following story…are you focused on the ‘cup’ or on what it contains? Let me hear from you on this!
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. The conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests tea, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of tea and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain-looking, some expensive, and some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the tea.
After all the students had a cup of tea 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. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the tea. In most cases, it’s just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was tea, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and then began eyeing each other’s cups.”
Now consider this: Life is the tea, and the jobs, houses, cars, things, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the tea.
Savor the tea, not the cups! The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. They have decided to see beyond the imperfections.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.