Occasionally, one must take a a different path from the daily routine, and attempt diligently to view things in a new and different light. Like putting on a pair of infrared goggles, and looking at your living room, bedroom, or office, stepping back and looking at your work and interests through a different spectrum is necessary in obtaining the fullest scope of understanding of that subject, and benefiting from all that it may have to offer. Doing so may even turn out to be the skill that enables you to continue pursuing that career or interest for years to come. No matter how much you believe you know on a subject, be assured that there is always more to learn on some level. Sometimes, it can come as simply as picking up a new book.
After a year of reading educational books about tea, taking multiple certification courses, and doing almost daily sampling and analysis, I took an evening to just sit and casually enjoy a pot of my favorite Ti Kwan Yin oolong. While sipping the tea, the thought struck me that for thousands of years, the focus of studying tea was not on the scientific aspects, but on the spiritual and metaphysical aspects. These ancient people knew nothing of the chemistry, nothing of the antioxidant or caffeine content. They did know three things: one, they could drink it and not die; two, it grew from the Earth; and three, it had noticeable psychological and physical effects. This is an oversimplification of their knowledge and understanding, obviously. However, these people had an appreciation for tea that even the most knowledgeable person in tea science may never be able to feel.
With this thought in mind, I decided to buy a new book. This book was not like my other purchases, since much of the preview material is based on the author’s spiritual beliefs and practices, and less on the scientific and categorical aspects of tea. The name of the book is ‘The Way of Tea : Reflections on a Life With Tea”, but Aaron Fisher. The cover is shown below.
I just received this book last Friday. I have read the first fifty pages to this point. I must say, despite my skepticism on how interested I would be in the material, I have been pleasantly surprised by my level of interest so far. This book has reminded me that tea is much more than just another beverage to choose from.
Tea has an energy that no other beverage on the planet can imitate. It is not meant to be chugged down as you drive to work, or as you type emails to clients, business partners, etc. Tea always has been, and always will be about taking a step back and feeling the moment. Taking the time to sit in silence, watch the leaves slowly unfurl in the water, appreciate the clean color of the infusion, feel the warmth of the liquid, and enjoy the fresh taste. Finally, carefully observing your body, and feeling the physical and psychological effects of the tea. Each tea whispers it’s own story and wisdom, and learning to hear that message should be the true tea enthusiasts top priority. Anyone can learn the scientific facts of tea, but few know how to truly feel the energy flow through them with each sip.
That being said, it is certainly helpful to know the science and history of tea. As the world tends to side more with the scientific world and less with the metaphysical world, it would be foolish to ignore that which people are most likely to understand. In the outside world, and in the tea marketplace, the scientific and experiential languages are what allows the tea professional to thrive. In the spiritual world, and in one’s own dwelling, it is the metaphysical and spiritual languages that guide the true tea sage to find some form of peace.
I am, by no means, inferring that I am a tea sage. However, I do like to think that I am the metaphorical white belt in this art. I have found peace in tea. I feel that there is more than just an abundance of antioxidants and other physical components to this elixir. Now, with a new book to help shape my awareness, I am ready to take another step. Of course, I will continue learning the science and history of tea, but I will also begin an inner study. Through a balanced curriculum of studying the internal and external worlds of tea, I am confident that I will succeed in finding peace and success through the way of tea.
I am looking forward to finishing this book, and absorbing the wisdom which it has to offer. If you have any suggestions on other tea related books of this nature, please feel free to leave a comment, or email me directly. I thirst for tea, wisdom, and peace.