Tea Meditation

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. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.- Thich Nhat Hanh

Tea. He tells me I’m like a warm cup of tea. I have a brief image of us, the first night I met him: I’m buried in an avalanche of pillows and he’s reading out loud. I hear a flash of his voice, see a cream colored cardigan, and feel my own thoughts roll to a stop.

 

 

Our conversations are a lot like tea meditation. Little pockets of stillness in the day, where the only thing necessary to focus on is the smooth lull of someone’s voice from 10,000 miles away. The static crackles in phone calls, the slight disorientation of our flipped days, the sun beating in Hyderabad as the moon dangles in San Francisco. 

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A tea meditation. I was introduced to the concept in India last year. Being absorbed in the act of making tea, crushing the tea leaves, hearing the whistle of a kettle, feeling the steam waft into your eyes as you stare into the ceramic cup, thinking about nothing. Concentrating on your own breath. The world in a stand-still. 

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Talking to you goes like this: Hearing the phone ring, steady and consistent, the satisfying click as our lines connect, as you clear your throat and say: “hello?”, or “yo” or “sup?”, depending on your mood and the time of day. Listening for the background noise. Where are you now? The clinking of cups and buzz of faint conversations indicate that you’re at a cafe. Midday in Seoul. The sound of public transport, the noises of the street blaring in the background. In the heart of Japan. Indistinct shouting in the background, you, clearly not sober. 1am in Hyderabad.

 

But my favorite are the times where there is no background noise drowning out your voice, the times when your voice, groggy and scratchy from hours of un-use, is the only thing I hear. When you sound like there are still fragments of dreams clinging to you thoughts. Those are the moments where life seems to reach a stand-still. Where whatever chaos resides in my mind immediately dissipates, where the only thing I need to think about is your voice on the opposite line, where I can almost see you, still sprawled in bed, bleary-eyed and content.