The Cup & the Grain of Sand

The Cup & the Grain of Sand

4 April 2014 Friday 9:12am

“Put three grains of sand inside a vast cathedral, the cathedral will be more closely packed with sand than space is with stars.” ~ James Jeans.

What the heck does this mean, God?

When a cup is empty does it contain anything?

No. When it’s empty it’s empty. It’s just full of air.

Yes. Now, what if there’s a grain of sand in it? Just one grain. Is it still empty?

No. It’s not. I still don’t understand.

When something does not contain anything it will be hollow. It has no meaning. It is useless. It does not benefit anyone. Now put a grain of sand in it and suddenly it has meaning. Where did the grain of sand come from? Who put it there?


Someone maybe. Or it got blown there by the wind. Or an ant carried it there. Or–

Do you see it now? The emptiness suddenly has meaning because of a single grain of sand. That grain of sand has a purpose for being there. And that is to give meaning to the emptiness. Do you think that grain of sand belongs there?

Um, no. I don’t think so.

So since it doesn’t belong there, what are you going to do about it?

Get rid of it. If I’m going to drink from that cup then I’ll wash it.

Precisely. You did not leave that grain of sand there before drinking from the cup because you were aware that it didn’t belong there. You took action by removing it.

What if I just left it there and used another cup instead?

You can do that. Now, what if someone else picked up the cup and drank from it without being aware that it had a grain of sand in it? How would you feel?

Guilty, I guess. And if that person gets affected by having a sore throat after drinking then I’ll feel really, really bad and I’ll feel like hell. Is this a metaphor?

Fine. I’m just a messenger.