What is the tea life? Like most things, it’s what YOU make of it. But, perhaps that is a little preemptively simple. In eastern Asia, tea is a part of life, it’s in the fibers of the culture itself. Some of those ways are overt and obvious such as in Taiwan. For the Taiwanese tea can be the answer to many of life's simple questions. If you are feeling cold, tea can warm you. If you are feeling hot tea can cool you. Tea is also a social thing, the equivalent of grabbing a beer with your pals. In Japan tea is ubiquitous as well, every block has at least one if not several vending machines that dispense tea and tea shops are numerous. In east Asia tea is a staple of the home, it is found in every kitchen like salt and sugar. There is also a much deeper layer to how tea effects these cultures. In Japan there is a indelible impression on society that stems from Zen. As you may know, Zen and tea are themselves inseparable. In this respect, China and Taiwan are also similar, tea seems to lend itself to a patient, slower pace of life, some would say a more focused pace of life.
I have lived in Asia and tapping into the tea life is very natural, but back in the west, USA for me specifically, what does the tea life mean here? The Tea life for me is how tea has come to permeate my day, my philosophy, my outlook, my whole approach to life. When I wake up I have breakfast and then tea. This may seem simple enough, but it’s much more than just having tea. It’s my time to connect and dive deeply into something. I gather my focus and “qi” if you will. It’s my time to calibrate my self, slow down, turn off my unconscious chatter and do some centering. Of course this can be achieved through many meditation techniques but the tea life provides me with a constant extension of this meditation.
The tea life starts when tea becomes more than a “beverage” and starts to become a ritual. This is when it starts to steep into your thoughts and mentality. This is when you can begin to view the world through the life of tea, moving closer to becoming achajinor a “person of tea”. The tea life puts the seasons in perspective and gives you a communion with nature. The further down the rabbit hole you go the more you become aware of the cyclical nature of tea, life, your relationships to others, the seasons, the years, and even the planets! All this subtly can come into focus through tea.
Next time you sit down to have some of your favorite tea, take a minute and think about how it fits into your life and explore the positive potential that moment has. If you are new to tea think about what got you excited to take up this journey, what is it that inspires you in tea? If you have been enjoying tea for a long time, how has it changed your perspectives, what has it added to your life? Share your thoughts and comments below on what the tea life means to you andwhy it has become a part of your daily ritual.
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