Today I set out on a quest with some friends to drink Longjing Tea (White Dragon Well) on the summit of Tiger Mountain (in Issaquah, Washington, near Seattle). The atmosphere on this Fall day was mystical. Literally, the surrounding forest was enmeshed with a beautiful thick layer of mist. In between our steps, with moments of silence, we could hear the whoosh of bright yellow maple leaves as they made their decent on the cool air towards the earth. Despite our desire, on this day we did not reach the summit, but we did experienced something that opened my eyes about the miracle of sharing tea.
We decided to make our way down Tiger Mountain and found a bench to set up our travel gong fu tea set, burner and water pot. Just as soon as we set the water to boil a very sweet Chinese woman made her way down the path nearly passing, when I invited her to share a cup of tea. She politely refused saying that she was hiking with her family and that there would be too many people coming. I insisted, once or twice and she finally acquiesced to my invitation. She explained that she had just been talking with her family about having a cup of tea and was surprised that the opportunity presented itself at precisely this moment. The kind and gentle family of six gracefully took sips and gave nods and “hmmmmms” of approval. They shared about how they regularly have 2-3 pots of tea together each day. They were impressed with the depth and aroma of this particular White Dragon Well.
I gave them my phone number and invited them to call me, that I may learn a thing or two from them about tea. On the back of my card they noticed the Seattle Sahaja Meditation Center details and inquired. I shared that we conduct free workshops on most days and in particular I mentioned that on Friday evenings we have tea and meditation. They were surprised and asked what the significance was of meditating and drinking tea. I shared my experience: When the mind is completely silent, one’s enjoyment and appreciation of fine tea is greatly heightened. Each tea has a specific energy, aroma, taste, color, depth, and movement. Each sense is piqued in a single moment, with a single sip. If one’s attention is caught up in thoughts about the past or future then the full enjoyment of that perfect moment is incomplete.
And thus my journey into the world of tea began . . .