A cup of tea. Meditative absorption. Becoming a cultured human being. Zen comes from the word 禪 (dʑjen), which is a Chinese version of the word Dhyana. The English can be wrestled with, over tea, but rather than be boring let’s call it “meditative absorption free of subject and object.” You know, being in the moment. The art of tea is meant to pull us into that moment.
This is contrary to the pop term prevalent today like be in your zen, or have a moment of zen. Those are little zens, they do not refresh the spirit the way Zen does. But let us reclaim a moment of Zen.
A cup of tea
Sitting before you is a cup. In the cup is tea. Pour in hot water, slowly. Do you use loose leaf tea? If you do, then the leaves are unfolding slowly in the water before your eyes. You are breathing in and out. Steam is rising from the cup. Maybe you strain the liquid, whether it is brown or golden or deep burgundy into a second cup. Then you breath in and out again. You bring the cup to your lips feeling the liquid is warm and soothing on your tongue. The flavor is exquisite. For a moment, you are resting in clarity with a relaxed and calm mind. Bring yourself to the tea cup over and over until you have finished this round of meditation.
It is not beer
I mean, I love an afternoon beer. But an afternoon beer takes me out of the functional zone. Whereas an afternoon cup of tea, a moment of Zen in a cup, keeps me in my productive zone. It is a fresh zone though because I have practiced the mindful pause and developed a little more into a cultured human. That means I can apply a little more gentle wisdom to the world as I interact with it. I am not coming from a place of reaction.
Speaking of deep rich beer, I have a suggestion for your tea. I would like to suggest our white tea cake, Gu Lu Bai Shu, this tea will leave you feeling giddy, its flavors are deep, rich, and smooth like a well aged sherry. You will love it. Use it for your moment of Zen.