When I’m serving tea to someone… mostly I’m serving tea for myself, trying to get the most enjoyable and “true” expression of the tea out of it, in the way I think it’s best (not trying to make it “pleasant”or even easy or accessible for the other person).
The other person just happens to be there to share the experience. I’m doing exactly what I would be doing if I were alone, just I’m serving one more cup.
I’ll explain: to me there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing someone completely immersed and dedicated with an activity… for example I’ve gone to “comedy improvisation” courses just to see how passionate this teacher is about it, that in itself was worth it.
It’s so satisfying to be so united with something else so as to forget your “self” stories, and to witness others do this with their passion (whatever that may be) gives us the hope and opportunity that it may be possible for us too
So, to what degree I can, I’m simply trying to “be tea”, and trust that that’s enough.
Everything else flows easily from this beginning point.
The meditation inclined among us may pick up on the fact that mindfulness can be talked about as being present with anything that it’s not “your self stories”.
And it indeed is no small feat, it’s easy to say but actually spending a significant part of my day not thinking about self-referential thoughts it’s quite an achievement for me, I feel rather well when I manage!
This is to me the essence of gong fu tea and tea ceremony: to be tea, not “me” (with “me” defined as neurotic overthinking mind)