Mar 4, 2008

Order from chaos

When we first begin to learn chanoyu, it seems like all we can manage is to remember the order of things, and getting control of our bodies in the tea room. All of our energy is drawn inwards as we exercise the self-discipline of temae. We face the challenge of endurance as we build up our tolerance for sitting seiza for longer and longer periods of time without excruciating pain. Our focus and concentration improves and the movements become more familiar.

One day it just happens. Order comes from the chaos inside our brain. Something clicks and we are here in the tea room with a guest. Yes, we are making tea for our guest, but now there is a live person in the room with us. When this happens, the tea room changes. Our guest is breathing with us, he is participating in the ritual. Through mutual consideration, host and guest create a new experience for each other. Unspoken communication occurs and small nuances in the ritual take on new meanings. Though host and guest have their roles to play, the give and take of such an experience can be quite moving.

This, for me is the magic of chanoyu. This is why chanoyu cannot be done alone. This is why one cannot learn chanoyu from a book, or from the video “Tea mastership in a day.” Each experience of the ceremony is unique and special. All the training, all the preparation and all the years of work make it worthwhile.

1 comment:

  1. I have fleeting glimpses of this and look forward to the days when I am one with the guests/s!