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Sometimes your mind can be too full of thoughts

By Joseph Pond

There was once a young man who wanted to study with a renowned Zen monk. The monk accepted him and told him: "Tomorrow we'll begin your training properly, but today will be unlike any other. Today, you can ask me any question and I will answer it completely and thoroughly."

Questions poured out of the novice. He asked all of the questions of his youth and then some more. Finally, the thoughtful old monk began to answer. However, after only a few words, and without even listening, the youngster interrupted and blurted out, "Yes, Master, but what about ..." and launched into another avalanche of questions.

Their morning continued like this. Finally, the Master looked at him and said: "There is nothing I can teach you. Your cup is full. Tomorrow, we'll begin the process of emptying it."

When a person wants to change something about their life, sometimes a barrier can be that your cup is too full. For instance, if you want to improve your self-esteem "I'm a beautiful, unique human being" would be a useful belief to install.

Yet if your mind is full of contrasting beliefs it can be impossible to accept the new thought. You might go, "Who am I trying to fool? My sister's the beauty in this family!" Whatever the issues may be for you, the fact is that our 'cups' are full of past memories, beliefs, and habits that define, shape and control our realities.

Mindfulness both empties and refills the cup. A daily practice of focusing on your breath offers respite from the thoughts that fill your head. When you maintain a loving observation and acceptance of who you are, you cease feeding the negative thoughts. When you stop reacting to your thoughts, they change. Ideas that used to hurt lose their harm.

At the same time, you begin to fill yourself with a new way of experiencing your internal reality. You become the Master and the student.

  • Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist, and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance. Reach him at or at Hypnosis/?ref=hl/?ref=hl

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