This glass is already broken…

Nov 07, 2023
A broken mug with it's liquid contents staining a cement floor.

I started the 1 Minute to Better Health blog in 2014, and one of the first posts I wrote remains a favorite, both of mine, and of readers. So every few years I like to republish it. As we continue to nagaivate Autumn, the season of letting go, and on heels of Hallween/Samhain/All Saints Eve, I offer you this:

I love tea, and I love the various mugs I use to drink tea. One mug was particularly special to me: it was lovely to look at, felt good in my hand, and was a gift from a friend. 

Recently, I somehow knocked it off the kitchen counter. As I watched it smash onto the floor, I experienced a full range of emotions: frustration, self-recrimination, sadness. And finally a smile, as I was reminded of this story: 

One day some people came to the master and asked: How can you be happy in a world of such impermanence, where you cannot protect your loved ones from harm, illness and death? 

The master held up a glass and said: Someone gave me this glass, and I really like this glass. It holds my water admirably and it glistens in the sunlight. I touch and it rings! One day the wind my blow it off the shelf, or my elbow may knock it from the table. I know this glass is already broken, so I enjoy it incredibly.  The Venerable Achaan Chah Subato

For years, a plaque with this story hung above my desk, and I reflected on its teachings almost daily. I found that when I could relax into the truth of the impermanence of all that I hold dear, I was able to more appreciate everything - each person, each possession, each moment - more deeply. 

So I smiled, because I realized that I had enjoyed that mug incredibly, knowing this day would come. Such good practice for the other inevitable losses of life. 

And, I went and found that plaque and put it back up, as a daily reminder that making peace with the fear of impermanence and loss is a lifelong practice.

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