Now, back to our tea session: Hopefully, by now we have set aside some time to mindfully tidy up the tea space. We can then use our creativity to set up a Chaxi with some ornaments and chose the teaware to go with it (or vice versa). Over time, we can combine them with objects that suit the tea, our moods, and the plants available as the seasons rotate. By surrounding ourselves with ever-changing beauty, we increase the pleasure in our lives. Being creative or sitting amongst creative beauty has been shown to boost the feel-good chemical, serotonin, in the brain. What more reason do you need?
Next comes tea selection. One of the things that I have been impressed with at the Tea Sage Hut is the thought and intuition that goes into selecting the tea. Before I came here, I would just ‘have a bit of what I fancied’. But we needn’t stop here. By doing a small amount of research and personal experimentation we can start to discover which teas suit different times of day, different seasons, and even different moods or health issues. In this way, we can begin to use tea less as a pick-me-up and more as a medicine in the sense of restoring balance. A nice Shou Puerh, for instance, might help us to balance the dampness and sleepiness we might feel on a cold winter’s morning but might be far too heat-producing on a hot day. Don’t believe the books; experiment for yourself! I actually drank a very ‘hot’ Shou Puerh recently on a boiling, humid day here in Taiwan and proceeded to sweat like a sumo for the next five hours. Lesson learned!
Along with my intellectual and experiential knowledge of which teas go well with hot or cold weather, or which teas are more yin or yang, I can pause in that embodied space and see what emerges. That’s where I’m at anyway. I’ll leave it to those who have gone further to talk from their experience.
Image courtesy of Global Tea Hut.