Jul 26, 2007

In the summer, suggest coolness; in the winter warmth

The seasons are part of the tea ceremony. When the weather is uncomfortably warm or freezing cold, suggesting coolness doesn’t mean turning on the air conditioner or heating up the room. There were no air conditioners in the 16th century. In the summer the days are hot, the fire is hot and the guests are hot. It is up to the host to coax coolness into the minds of the guests. This takes imagination, discipline and force of spirit.

A larger room, flowers relating to water, darkening the interior, and using utensils that depict the seashore, mountains, flowing or dripping water or cool breezes all help to give the guests a cooler feeling. Not getting flustered, impatient or hurried will calm and cool the guests.

In the winter, moving the fire closer so guests can see the burning charcoal, using tall teabowls to retain the heat, or serving spicy ginger in the soup suggest warmth. A tea person can project warmth and coziness in the stories he tells, or the activities he plans.

These are truly tools for life. With suggestion, imagination, discipline and force of spirit no matter what the situation, you can always make it better. Instead of resisting and complaining about what is, accept it and find enjoyment or challenge in making it better.

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