I went to my first Tea ceremony, I wasn’t interested, but it was my girlfriend’s birthday and so we went.
At the end I was so still I couldn’t talk for a long while.
Love at first sip and I drank Tea daily since, with so much inspiration and desire.
Around one year later I found myself running a kind of Tea Temple/Centre/Community.
It’s quite understandable I’d think: “Tea. It must be Tea. I must do everything I can to be around Tea as much as I can. This will save me.”
Perhaps you have a similar story, Tea somehow entered your life… gave you so much, and now you can’t imagine your life without it.
Meditating with Tea was so deep that I found myself uninterested in meditation without Tea.
So I started having two hours long Tea and meditation sessions
But then at some point my Tea ceremonies stopped being so deep too
and so I started adding more Tea to the pot, and buying older and older Tea…
and of course eventually it stopped being so effective at all.
And it became just a habit, yet another “thing” I do
No Tea ceremony in the morning? I can’t quite function
Meditation retreat? I must skip sessions to have a Tea session on my own…
Other spiritual practice? Yes but can I have some Tea during it please?
As I write, I realise how silly this all sounds and how I’ve fallen into a trap of my own making
I’m dependent on Tea yet somehow is not that magic anymore, despite all the geeky knowledge I’ve acquired about Tea and literally living in a Tea temple, with tens of kilograms of old Tea around me. I can’t bring back the old magic no matter how much more Tea I acquire or drink.
And yet when I serve Tea to a new friend and there are tears in their eye, or they discover a powerful insight about their life, or experience deep deep stillness I can’t help but wonder at how magic Tea ceremony actually is.
Yet what’s making that experience happening is not the tongs of old puerh I managed to buy last week, it’s not our beautiful tea room, and it’s definitely not me.
It’s in the very fabric of the universe, Tea and me handling it are just one of the many possible catalyst for the experience of connection, completion and peace to arise.
It’s so easy to grasp to things as end in themselves, or as it’s called in Zen “attachment to rights and rituals”
I thought I knew.
I thought the more I drank Tea the more I’d know.
But I have to frankly look at my behaviour and see how I’m attached to Tea as an end to itself, and not as an instrument inextricably connected with the rest of reality.
And yet maybe there’s hope for me, even though I’m ever the fool.
I shall now go back to my Tea, hoping I’ve learned something.
And maybe one of these days I’ll find the strength to take a week or a month break from Tea and meditate without anything else, simply sitting quietly by myself, struggling to keep my mind from wandering too much, going back to using my own power to achieve this experience of connection, peace, depth my whole being yearns for.
May your bowl ever be full, and ever, ever be empty.