FOREWORD to First Empty Your Cup
by Betsy Caprio, D.Min., A.T.R.
Founder, Center for Sacred Psychology – Culver City, California
In this work, author Neil Bezaire invites us to ponder the windings and conclusions of a lifetime of considered thought, assuring us at the same time that he has no answers to age-old questions about the mind, human emotions and relationships, moral values, love and other such universal concerns. How comforting! And how different from the slew of publications which claim that, indeed, they do have the answers as to how one must live.
Neil, does something much more difficult than this and, at the same time, much more helpful. He models for us the search for consciousness. He explores, in fine detail, the terrain of his own inner and outer life, extracting finely-tuned wisdom from a multiplicity of lived experience. This is the “fresh tea” he offers, not so much with the expectation that his taste in drink will satisfy readers’ thirsts, but hoping they may brew their own blends from reflection upon the experiences of their lives. Neil has “lived his questions,” as the poet Rilke says, and the result is this fresh—and refreshing—cup of tea.
And what is the “stale tea” he hopes to replace? Is it not the many unexamined assumptions by which so many of us live? Is it not the never-questioned scripts handed down in families? the values from media which we swallow whole and unchewed? the suppositions that lead us to believe our way is the best and/or only way? These attitudes, and much more, are the stale, left-over tea which is the unnourishing, unsatisfying beverage of so many lives. Neil would have us pour it out, and refill our cups with that which is soothing and healing and life-sustaining: the freshly-brewed, well-steeped ingredients of the examined life.
It’s important to note that, for Neil Bezaire, the details of everyday existence must be understood against a vast backdrop of the entire universe; religious readers might translate this point of view as “the framework of eternity.” Our lives, the author posits, can make sense only when experienced as microcosms reflecting a macrocosm. The fresh tea in any one cup comes out of a much larger pot, and unites its brewer and sipper with—to shift metaphors—that broad cosmos in which each of us is but a pinpoint of light.
The last quarter of the twentieth century has seen an explosion of self-awareness movements and books asking readers to go inward and reflect upon their lives. As we approach a new millennium, this seems not only inevitable but also absolutely essential. How can we not agree with C. G. Jung, who taught that it was only through individuals doing their own “inner work,” one by one, that our world could be saved from the spiral of destruction produced by unexamined collective thinking?
Is the conscious exploration of life difficult? Sometimes. Does it call for a re-examination of our priorities? Yes. Is this realignment scary? Possibly but, oh, it is also so fulfilling (Meister Eckhardt, back in the thirteenth century, knew this when he advised others to “peel away all and find the heart of goodness”).
Most important, is the quest, for each of us, necessary? Absolutely. This is the challenge of the new century and new millennium, and teachers such as Neil Bezaire help us meet that challenge. He shows us the places to where his own questing has brought him, thus far. Following this author’s example—not necessarily his conclusions, but his example—we can each become masters or mistresses of our own deeply spiritual and life-giving tea ceremony, drinking deeply.
Thank you, Neil, for your book and, much more so, for the witness of a life well-considered and fully lived.
BACK COVER of First Empty Your Cup
Thomas M. Hedberg, PhD., R.P.T., Senior Psychotherapist & Author
Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital, Marina del Rey, CA
Like many philosophers and profound thinkers before him, Bezaire leads the reader on a continual path of self-discovery. in an age dominated by fear and greed, negativity and cynicism as well as black and white thinking, this imaginative author shows us creative ways to experience harmony of body, mind and spirit. In Cervantes-like style Bezaire challenges us to “let serenity etch a program into your brain.”
Containing elements of his own search for awareness/consciousness, Bezaire’s confessional experience enfolds yet transcends a Diogenesque search of Truth, Beauty and Goodness. practical exercises summarize experientially the wisdom of each chapter, allowing seekers to discover their own insights and reminding us that we are called to be co-creators in the universe. No wonder the ancient art of tea making is a wisdom metaphor! Take this (fresh) tea and see!