"What can I expect out of it?" I am often asked by curious beings who stand on the precipice of Tea, peering into the bowl of steaming stillness to gauge if it is worth a plunge in (spoiler: 100% worth it!)
Just being. Not doing. Let Tea become the bridge between heaven and earth.
To be able to allow the flow of qi and thus the Way of Tea course through you, it is only possible when we maintain a Beginner's Mind ·prajna·. We come to every ceremony with fresh pairs of eyes and a renewed mind in order for the wisdom of Tea to flow through us. Zen is in this way, a manifestation of simplicity, a state of mind cultivated upon ordinary extraordinary and extraordinary ordinary moments in life.
Our teacher have often described Zen: "Zen is chopping the wood, setting up the fire, fetching the water. When you have learnt to do that, you have found Zen."
To sit in ceremony and drink Tea as Dao is also to surrender the impulse to do, to achieve some sort of enlightenment. There is no target here to hit, no goal to achieve. To steep in this practice with no goal in mind may seem paradoxical to our human egoic mind. In the letting go of purpose and aim, I often see in myself as well as in my guests, transcendence. This then ripples outward throughout my life, from the way I manage my money to the way I soak my chickpeas (and I do love my chickpeas).
That mind-made game of "being too busy and never having enough time" will lead you to eventually find yourself in a place where you realise you have never stopped and appreciated your life at all, and now it had all whirled past like a dervish, too far and distant to call back in reminiscence.
But it is never too late to see through humbled eyes and rest in the hallowed wisdom that can come from Nature Herself. A Tea ceremony does precisely this. The stillness allow us to begin to appreciate the bowl in your hands, and the Tea that is coursing down your throat, so