Tea and Zen
A Different State of Mind
There is, sadly, little that I do that does not involve a lot of thinking. Even if the purpose of what I’m doing is to have “fun“, then I pursue that with the idea that I need to have fun, that I need to relax. I think about it. When I spend the evening reading, there is a nagging somewhere in my mind about laundry, checking accounts, and work.
There are two times when I manage to feel completely and magically free of the mind of pursuit, the mind of purpose, the mind of gain.
- when I enjoy tea
- when I sit zazen (meditation).
Whether having tea or sitting zazen, there is a process that eases me into a different state of mind.
The water is set to flame and tea is measured out.
The temperature of water, the steep time, the tea vessel, and the presentation of the tea all matter very much to me.
The beauty of the leaf, the smell of the blend, and the color of the liquor are experiences themselves, separate and distinct from actually drinking the tea, but also wholly part of the drinking experience.
So perfectly interwoven that one is the other.
And then there is the flavor, the temperature, the tightening of the taste buds in reaction. Time stands still. The whole process can be as long or as short in duration as I wish, but that has more to do with space to focus.
The experience itself is outside the experience of time or reason.
Tea, Zen, Mind, No Mind
White porcelain, auburn glow
No thing exists here
I suspect that this is what I was supposed to be feeling during all of those martial arts classes, but while I love martial arts, I rarely transcended thoughts of body, sequence, time, improvement, and gain. Tea is, for me, something else entirely.
When I sit zazen, I have monkey-mind of course, but there are also the moments where there is just sitting. Not thinking, not anything. That state of being defies explanation or definition.
What do you do to change your state of mind? Please share by leaving a comment below.
Photo of rolling green tea fields by MK Media Productions