Today I met with an old friend who was returning home briefly after a period of work and travel abroad. After sharing tea and conversation from the late morning through the mid afternoon, I felt inspired to write a short piece on drinking tea slowly.
Life is busy, and it is natural to be pulled in many different directions by our day to day obligations. I’m reminded of the quote from Confucius: “The [good person] never deserts benevolence… If [they] hurry and stumble one may be sure that it is in benevolence that [they] do so.” (Book 4, Passage 5) **. I included this quote because I think it is important and necessary to attend to the things in life that can make us hurry and stumble about.
Despite this I’ve recently come to appreciate the times when I’ve fully attended to my obligations in the immediate future, and have been able to sit and spend free time with tea. For me this kind of time is a good way to recharge my batteries, promote relaxation, and is good for my mental & physical health. I think this kind of time doesn’t even have to be spent with tea. It could be any activity one enjoys, or even no activity at all.
Rather than expecting ourselves to work at 100% all the time, taking a rest for the longer journey ahead. In my life this has been an important lesson that I’ve learned, and tea has been a good way to put it into practice.
I’ll end by offering a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh that you may or may not have heard: “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
If you find yourself reading this post I hope you have a chance to take a nice break, whether it is with tea, or anything else.
** The text in brackets is written material from Confucius that I altered. Confucius uses the term “gentleman” and the pronoun “he”. However, I didn’t feel like morals had to be tied to specific genders.