Nov 5, 2007

Facing myself

Every time, I step into the tea room, I have an opportunity to face myself. I love the way of tea and I want to do so well at it. The procedures for making and serving tea challenge my wandering mind to pay attention. It seems that every time I make tea, I often make some mistake and I have to figure out how I can recover from that mistake and go on. I try to keep in mind the principles of harmony, respect, purity and tranquility and manifest them with my guests, while at the same time, ensuring that my guests feel comfortable and know what is going on. What if I don’t get along with someone else who is in the tea room? What if I notice that someone is not doing something strictly correct? How do I keep myself from showing off how much I know and correcting others? How much do I conform to what everyone else is doing for the sake of harmony? Nobody can make these decisions for me. Only I can choose how to respond to how I am feeling and what is going on in the tea room.

I recently started with a new class of tea students. Often as we go through the introductory class, there are the same questions that others have asked before, but always there are new questions and challenges that are unique to these particular students because everyone brings themselves into the tea room. When you bring yourself to the tea room, inevitably you have to face yourself. As Buck Rogers said, “No matter where you go, there you are.”

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