Are you drinking properly?
As quoted in our introductory video, Sen Rikyu, the father of the Japanese Tea Ceremony, said this:
"Tea is naught but this:
First you heat the water,
Then you make the tea,
Then you drink it properly.
That is all you need to know."
What? The man who came up with a practice of tea that takes years of study before one is qualified to even prepare/serve tea in a ceremony that last for hours said this? He certainly did and I love how he boiled it all down (see what I did there?) to the five sentences quoted above.
You see, the purest essence of the tea experience is not about how we do it, how expensive or extensive our tea collection is, how fancy our brewing gear is or even the skill we have at making tea taste great. Rather, Sen Rikyu teaches us that it at its heart, what is essential lies in the presence with which we *have* the experience of tea. To sit and truly be with tea (or any one thing, for that matter) takes an effort and it takes practice. It is quite simple and yet our minds can fight it every step of the way, for our ego will not leave us un-haggled as we work to be here now. It wants distraction.
Drink it properly? We've been drinking our entire lives, what does he mean drink it properly? Sen Rikyu is simply reminding us that to perfect present moment tea preparation/serving/drinking, we just need to tea here now. By bringing awareness to all of the senses during a session, by being aware of our thoughts, we can slow time down and learn to drink in not just the tea, but the entire moment. Check in. Is the mind dwelling in the past, in the future, or perhaps creating the grocery list or planning the tea brewing pic you will post next on Instagram?
Try it when next you have the chance. I dare you. See if you can drink properly. Sip the tea, feel your heart, enjoy the breath, tune in to all five (or six or seven) senses and be grateful. You have a body, you have a mind, you have tea, you have water and you have friends. Life is so rich for you! Practice and enjoy. Give yourself the gift of some type of mini-retreat from the technology and worry each day. We need you healthy and peaceful. We need you.