Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by many thoughts and situations.

We have attachments, we feel that “if only I could wait for a little longer….” or “I cannot let it go, I need to control it” “I know everything, I already know how to do it”…do those thoughts sound familiar?

Once upon a time there was a scholar who wanted to learn Zen.

He had an extensive background in Buddhist stories and he wanted to know more about Zen. Then he came to study with the master.

The scholar started to talk extensively, without pausing and the Master listened patiently and then began to make tea. When it was ready, he poured the tea into the scholar’s cup until it began to overflow and run all over the floor. The scholar saw what was happening and shouted “Stop, stop! The cup is full, you can’t get anymore in!”

The master stopped pouring and said “Yes, the cup is full. You are like this cup, full of ideas and thoughts. I can’t put anything in your cup. Before I can teach you, you’ll have to empty your cup.”

This story is an old one, but it continues to be played out in our lives, and in our minds, day-by-day.

We are stuck to our ideas, our opinions and so trapped by our conditioning that we fill ourselves up to the brim and nothing can get in.

We need to learn how to let go, how to create space in ourselves, in our minds and hearts, so we can welcome new ideas, new thoughts and new possibilities.

This week I suggest a very simple though powerful exercise (simple things are always powerful); we will perform a ritual. Our subconscious loves rituals, because they speak directly to it and they go healing and transform what needs to be transformed.

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What you need:

A piece of paper, a pen, one white candle, a small pot (or a terracotta vase) and yourself.

Sit down at your table and write on the paper all the thoughts, worries and ideas you know you no longer need. All the ideas that hold space in your mind and in your heart, the ones you feel are no longer helping you. Take all the time you need and write without editing.

At the end, light the candle and burn the paper. Gather the ashes into the pot and throw them down the sink (if you don’t live near a river or the sea) or go to the river/sea and give them to the flow.

Give thanks to the elements (water, fire) for taking care and transforming your thoughts and for assisting you in letting go of what you do not need anymore.

Start to notice the small changings and be open to the new ideas and events that will happen to you.

IMPORTANT: When performing this ritual you should be alone, no cellphones and no one around that could interrupt you. Be sure to take some time for yourself.