The two bottles

Written by Valentino Giacomin

This book was illustrated for WEBE foundation under the guidance of Alice Project and Daphne Charles

Illustrations by Sochalaya, assisted by Gavin George


Our mind has thoughts and emotions. Thoughts and emotions come and go, like the content of the bottle. This means that our mind is not the emotions and it is not the thoughts. If it were the thoughts, we should have always the same thoughts in our mind. If a bottle were the wine (content), that bottle would never be able to contain other liquids.

The bottle, of course, is not its content. The nature of the bottle is that it is empty of the content. Because it is empty a bottle can be filled with a liquid. If the bottle were already filled with something that we cannot take out, then we would not call it ‘bottle’. It is not a bottle any more. In the very same way, our mind has the quality of being empty of everything. It is neither this nor that.

Because it is empty it can reflect everything. So, when we have a thought, we should think:” This thought is not me. This thought is not my mind. This thought just makes me understand that my mind is free of it., It is free of everything… even of the thought to be free! “

Two bottles

Once upon a time, before time, there was only an infinite luminous, empty space. The, this infinite space started vibrating.
From this vibration arose a sound which pervaded the whole empty Universe.
This cosmic sound had the same nature of space and took a form called OM by Indian Sages. This primordial form went on vibrating and manifested itself as a God, called with different names by people of the world.

The God did not stop dancing. His dance created infinite forms under the appearances of the phenomena to which the people (appearances) gave different names.
Time passed…

It happened that the infinite space found itself bounded inside the appearance of an empty bottle that was in the pantry (appearance) of an old house (appearance). There was a second bottle-appearance, but it was full of wine.
The bottle which was full of wine behaved in the most arrogant way and thought of herself as being very ‘chic’. “I am the wine!” she said to her companion. “It’s a greatly sought-after wine and it is highly regarded by all collectors.”

In fact, from time to time someone would go into the pantry and they would never even look at the empty bottle. All the attention was for the bottle filled with wine. “Look and see how everyone admires me!” the bottle of wine would say to the empty bottle. The empty bottle, which was very wise, would never contradict her companion and pretended to agree with her. “It’s very true! You are of great value while I am not worth anything at all!”

However, this is not what was really in her mind. One day, she decided to tell her the truth. “Who are you my friend?”
The filled bottle answered with great confidence. “I am a bottle filled with a collector’s wine which is highly valued!

“Are you sure?”
The wine bottle got very angry with the empty bottle

and accused her of being jealous of how important and beautiful she was. So, the empty bottle decided never to bring up that topic again.

One day, the owner of the house went into the pantry together with some of his friends. They were all in great spirits. “This is my treasure!” said the owner while taking the bottle from the table. The filled bottle felt as though it were in heaven.

“Come! Let’s celebrate with this aged bottle” said the owner.
“Goodbye my friend!” said the empty bottle.

“Bye. See you soon!” said the filled bottle with great self-confidence while looking at the empty bottle with a sense of superiority.

The hours passed. After an entire day, the pantry door opened and the bottle of wine returned to its place.

Yet, it remained mute.

“What is it my friend?” she asked her companion. There was no reply.
“Is there anything wrong?’ asked the empty bottle. Again, there was no reply.

For days on end, the bottle of wine did not speak a single word. In the past, she had been very talkative and she would easily start a conversation. After a long time, the chic bottle finally gave a sigh.
“Well! Are you finally coming to life again?” asked the empty bottle. The reply was yet another but more resigned and deep sigh.

“At least you are alive!” exclaimed the empty bottle. “I was very worried about your health and your state of mind!”
“I am dead!” replied the bottle of wine with a very weak voice.
“Dead? What do you mean? I see you alive and well, just like before. Actually, perhaps I sense a slight paleness in you, but nothing else!”

“I am no longer myself! I am someone else!” the chic bottle went on with tears in its eyes.

“I see the same bottle as before!” said the empty bottle while trying to reassure her friend. “I am not the same. The owner and his friends drank the wine and they have killed me. There isn’t one single drop of me left. I have been reduced to nothing!” cried the chic bottle.

The empty bottle laughed heartily.

“Oh, now I understand. The owner of the house has celebrated with his friends and drunk your content.”

My friend, this had to happen sooner or later. Ì’ve tried to warn you other times and to reason with you about your real identity but you never wanted to hear me out.
You were convinced that you were the content. Now the content is no longer there and you are convinced that you have finished alongside it!”

“Yes. I am dead. If you only knew how much I have suffered while they were drinking me. It was a slow agony… a terrible experience. Now I am no one!” cried the chic bottle.

“My friend, try to see yourself from a different perspective. Now that you are empty, you look clean and luminous! Can’t you see the beautiful light radiating from yourself?”

She looked at herself more closely and realised that her friend was right. She was actually much lighter and bright.
“Does that mean that I am like this light and not like the dirty wine which was inside me?”

“You can answer that yourself by observing yourself and discovering who you really are. First, you thought wrongly of yourself by thinking you were the content of the bottle and that kind of thinking made you proud and arrogant. Remember?

But there was really no reason to feel arrogant or to feel superior because you weren’t the wine. We bottles are not the contents. We are the free and pure space that allows the content to… what shall we say?… to appear and disappear. It doesn’t really matter what goes inside us. We are the space which is not contaminated by that which goes through it,” explained the wise bottle.

“How pleasant it is to hear these words. They make feel I am being born all over again. What you are trying to tell me is that I am not really dead!”

“It is the small mind that thought it was the wine which actually did die, but you haven’t really lost anything because you were never what you thought you were!”

At that moment, a big rat appeared out of nowhere and started running up and down the pantry.

It jumped onto the table where the two bottles were and brushed against the wise bottle making it roll on the table.

“What is happening, my friend. You are about to fall off!” cried the chic bottle.
“Yes. It looks like soon we shall have to separate definitely!” said the wise bottle free of any anxiety.

“But you are about to die!” cried the chic bottle.
“No my friend. This is the last teaching I will give you. I am not about to die because I never identified with anything, not even with the glass of the bottle!”

In a few seconds, the wise bottle would shatter into a hundred pieces.

“Please tell me what we are, if we are not the content nor the glass,” asked the chic bottle in a desperate tone.

“We are like infinite space which neither originates nor disintegrates,” was the wise bottle’s last message before it broke into many pieces on the pantry floor.

When the time came for her to finish her life, she went smiling, peaceful and in peace with herself and the entire world.