There is an old Japanese story about the Zen tea master Sen no Rikyu…
One day, a Sakai tea man invited Rikyu to a tea ceremony in the hope of impressing him with an antique tea jar from China. But despite being served from the jar, Rikyu didn’t seem to notice it, commenting instead on the simple scenery outside the tea hut. When Rikyu left, the trader smashed the precious jar to pieces and withdrew in anger. Luckily, all was not lost. One of the other guests gathered the pieces and glued them together with golden lacquer. When he came next, Rikyu recognized the mended jar. ‘Ah’ he said, ‘now it is magnificent!’
We are storytellers — that’s how we make sense of our lives and give them meaning. Stories are always an overlay, an interpretation of what is. They enable us to accomplish great things, but can also get us in trouble if we mistake the stories for reality.
Reality can’t be pinned down in words, no matter how fine a story we spin — reality can only be experienced directly.
It is only by changing the way we treat others that we can hope to change the world and make it a kinder, more peaceful, compassionate, and hopeful place. We can help others by touching them with gentleness, kindness, and forgiveness. But before we can do that, first we must touch ourselves in this way. We need to begin our own inner transformation.
The significance of consciousness comes from what it brings to the human mind, and from what it subsequently allows the mind to discover.
Consciousness makes mental experiences possible, from pleasure to pain, along with all that we perceive and memorize, and recall and manipulate as we describe the world around and within us, in the process of observing, thinking, and reasoning.