Archive Pages Design$type=blogging

To be an Empty Cup and the Process of Unlearning

excerpts from Cherag Hamid Touchon's article, published in Heart of the Message - a journal of trans-ethnic spirituality.

Unlearning is an important aspect in pursuing excellence on the spiritual path and is a discipline that one must continually apply to one’s life and refine one’s self in.

The Cup | The process of unlearning is a common thread that runs through all spiritual traditions world wide and thus constitutes an essential and universal component of the process of spiritual unfoldment. This is the key element in being a disciple or a pupil of any tradition and is often referred to as being empty or, in other words, receptive. As an illustration, there is a story from the Zen tradition;

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” Nan-in said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?” Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones

And from the words of Jesus;

MAT 23:25-26 / "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup, but the inside it is full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup, that the outside of it may be clean also."

The purpose of unlearning is to divest oneself of attachment to those beliefs and and presumptions which we have come to identify with as a part of who we think we are. These tightly held beliefs are the very strands of the fabric which make up what is called the nafs among the Sufis and in the West is called the ego. The ego is a complex character that we assume which is constructed from all that we have experienced and learned over the years both in terms of who we have come to think of ourselves as and who we seem to be in the eyes of others.

This ego identity though, is a fabrication of our deeper spiritual being and may be seen as barnacles that collect on a ship during its voyage. Unlearning is the cleaning off of these barnacles to expose the ship’s hull so to speak.

Hazrat Inayat Khan says: “Every soul yearns for knowledge, that knowledge which will give exaltation. But the soul cannot be satisfied by the knowledge one gathers from books, by learning, or by the study of outside things. ... It is another knowledge that the soul is really seeking. The soul cannot be satisfied unless it finds that knowledge, but that knowledge does not come by learning names and forms. On the contrary it comes from unlearning.

:: Heart of the Message Journal
image credit


Follow the Author on Facebook


99 names abida activism adab adamandeveit advaita advice alchemy alchemy of the divine Ali alka Allah almsgiving americandiary anab analysis antiwar art article ascetic attributes audio authority award bahai bahaullah bangla bangladesh baul bawa beauty bengali bhakti bible bill whitehouse biography blog book book review booklog bosnia breath bual buddha buddhism calligraphy carnival carolyn charity children Christ christian christianity Christology click comparative comparative religion compassion consciousness contemplative tradition conversation cosmology counsel creative creative thought creative thoughts crucifixion current affairs dante darshan death deception democracy desert spirituality desire destiny devotion Dhikr diary documentary donation download dreamwork DVD dying earth ecospirituality ego egypt eid end time endtime enlightenment eschatology esoteric ethics event evil exegesis exergesis experience faith fast fasting feminine folk forgiveness freedom from sectarianism fundraising ghayb gita globaloneness gnosis God golden sufi gospel governance grace gratitude guestblog guide on the path gurdjieff hadith hadra hafez hafiz haiku hajj haqiqat haqqu hasidic headscarf headscarves healing health heart hinduism history house rent humanright humor husayn illusion imamuddin imran-hosein in_quest_of_oasis inayat khan infographic inspiration integral spirituality interview islam islamophobia jesus Jesus Christ Jewish journalism judaism justice kabir kahlil gibran kenwilber Koan Koran krishna language last age law of attraction life link Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee love love. inspiration lyric mahmud shabistari maktub malamat mansur hallaj mary mary magdalene Mawlid meditation meditative quranic verse mercy metaphysics miracle miraj Mohammad mosque movie Muhammad music muslim mystic mysticism mysticsaint poetry mysticsaint prayer mysticsaint thought Nachman naomi naqshbandi nature news news. jesus tomb old age oneness origin original osho palestine paradox peace philosophy photography pir zia inayat khan pluralism podcast poem poem on God poetry poety poll porshee positive psychology poverty practice prayer presence present project Prophet Muhammad protest psychology qawwali question quote Quran quranic qurbani rabbi meir ben Baruch ramadan reality reincarnation relation religion Remembrance resource Resurrection retreat review roundup rumi sacred activism sacred geometry sacrifice saint saints saying sayings of Prophet science secret secularism self service Shadhiliyya shamanism Shamcher Shaykh Nooruddeen Durkee shrine Sidi Sikh social media sohbet song soul sound speedlink spiritual spiritual materials spirituality Sponsored statistics story submission sufi sufi healing sufi podcast sufi poetry carnival sufi tale sufi tariqa sufi text sufi wisdom sufi-infographic sufihaqqu sufis sufism sufism wisdom sufism. hinduism sufitale surrender survey symbology tafsir tagore tantra tao teaching technology ted temple terrorism the secret thelogy thought thoughts time translation travel tribute truth unity upanishad vatican veda veil video view violence visit webcast wisdom witness woman workshop worship yoga zakat zawiya zen zen mind Zikr
Technology of the Heart: To be an Empty Cup and the Process of Unlearning
To be an Empty Cup and the Process of Unlearning
Technology of the Heart
Not found any posts VIEW ALL Readmore Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago