Because of the way my mind works I have a tendency to see symbolism in ordinary experiences. To me what some might call a simple coincidence is in reality synchronicity–the definition of which is a meaningful coincidence. To an extent, this is one aspect of what makes me call myself a mystic. However, I believe I am something of an anomaly, because for all my leanings toward mysticism, I am also extremely practical. As a definition, a practical mystic might be considered an oxymoron. Here’s an example of what I mean.
Today, as I prepared to make breakfast I noticed our water glasses from yesterday. They were still on the table. In order to save a bit of extra washing I use the same water glasses for each meal of the day, refilling them as needed. I always prefer to begin each day with a fresh glass. As I looked at them it suddenly occurred to me that here was a meaningful symbol. I asked myself what does it mean metaphorically to use yesterday’s glasses again today?
A fresh glass for the day could be a symbol of a fresh beginning for the whatever might happen that day. The water it would hold would represent what I might absorb in the way of observations and experiences. It could also be symbolic of what I might find to be of use to me in my thirst for knowledge.
Years ago I attended a lecture with a yoga teacher who told all his students to constantly repeat: I know nothing, I want to learn.” I remember that then I didn’t like saying, “I know nothing.” I was taking it literally. However, as time went on I recognized the words as simply being the equivalent of what Buddhists call, Beginner’s Mind. It didn’t mean I knew nothing at all but rather that I was open to learning more.
If I think I know everything there is to know about anything my ability to learn more about it is greatly diminished. When I feel as though my understanding is complete, I cannot add to it. My mind automatically becomes closed to any additional information or insight concerning whatever subject or situation I am involved in or working with. In order to do my best I need to be willing to admit to at least some ignorance and to affirm a willingness to learn.
I picked up yesterday’s glasses and put them in the sink, took fresh ones from the cabinet and filled them with filtered water from my new birthday pitcher. It is good to remind myself to remain open to opportunities for new ideas and experiences. As I get older I’ve noticed a tendency to feel as though I know lots about life and how to live it. After all, I’ve lived such a long life. However, I want to keep on expanding my mind and heart for all of my life. So besides having a fresh glass to fill each morning, I also want to have a fresh mind to fill with new knowledge and understanding