The art of tea and self reflection
One of the practices of the art of tea is self reflection. If we are human we have a capacity for self reflection. Self reflection is a corner stone of being a healthy human. The greater your self reflection the more cultured you become. It is unique to humans and a quality that when developed distinguishes a man or woman from the crowd. All valid spiritual traditions teach self reflection. Whether it was the Catholic art of confession, or the Buddhist practice known as revealing your own flaws, the idea is the same. We look at who we are, and how we could be better. The art of tea is a smooth method of self reflection.
Oolong tea and self reflection
In the art of tea, every part of the preparation of the cup is a moment that is used for self reflection. I would suggest that Oolong, or Tie Guan Yin is especially suited for this. Guan Yin, or Quan Yin is the Buddhist goddess of mercy or compassion. She is revered by millions, if not billions of people for her acts of kindness. Self reflection requires a great degree of kindness. Why you may ask? Because if we are honestly going to look at our own rude, aggressive and animal like, and untamed behavior we need to have compassion and kindness for ourselves.
Hence, this is the work of becoming a cultured human. We look at our own aggression in the world and we have kindness to it. From there we can look at other peoples aggression. Instead of reacting to them we can have kind gentle calming words as a response. The result is that aggression in the world is reduced. This means less cruise missile strikes, less suicide bombers, and less school shootings. All crime, such as murder comes from aggression in the world, and when we reduce the aggression in ourselves we reduce the aggression in the world.
Tie Guan Yin and mental clarity
When you pour hot water on Tie Guan Yin, the oolong leaves slowly unfurl leaving a pleasant floral and roasted flavor. As they unfurl it is similar to our own neurotic aggression unwinding. The profound inner act is taking time to reflect on how we could have been better human beings throughout the day. This means how we could have been kinder to others, less aggressive and more content. As you sip the tea, it is taking in the gentleness of compassion for yourself and others. The flavors are blissful and delicious and you are fulfilled. From that fulfillment comes contentment. It is contentment that releases us effortlessly from aggression.
When you drink tea with relaxed clarity, the calm that comes over the mind is a result of your practice of the art of tea. You have turned drinking your Oolong into a practice of mindfulness. The calm also comes from the physical substance of the tea plant. Tea contains L-theanine and GABA. They are found in large quantities in Oolong and help promote peace and well being. Tea also contains the terpene phytol, which increases the uptake of GABA in your brain. It actually destroys the enzyme aflatoxol, which inhibits GABA receptors. This combination contributes to a sense of well being. This is why it is easier to become a cultured human the more tea you drink…. and the more you practice the art of self reflection.
Here is our Tie Guan Yin to help you on your way: