Enjoy More and Worry Less: Tea and Patience

August 17, 2011

relax, enjoy life, tea, Patience

I have many hobbies, including playing Go and Chess, practicing Tai Chi, Gardening, Chinese calligraphy, and making a cup of tea.  But all of the hobbies I enjoy have something in common, they all require patience.

Finding Patience Brewing Tea

I love tea because it helps me relax and it quiets my mind. Water is the mother of tea, and so water is the mother of this relaxation. Waiting for the water to boil slows down the pace of daily life.  Green, Black, and Oolong teas each require different brewing temperatures.  Patiently paying close attention during the brewing process to make certain the water temperature is just what it needs to be for the tea you’re brewing is the secret to a perfect cup.

Water temperature increases according to the following sequence:

  • The bubbles surface 
  • The bubbles grow larger
  • The steam rises
  • The water hisses
Finding Patience Drinking Tea

Even before you drink the tea, you need to go through many steps in preparation, for instance:

  • warming the cup
  • putting the tea leaves in the cup
  • washing the tea leaves
  • wetting the tea leaves to let the taste seep out
  • watching the color to determine if the tea is ready
  • smelling the tea  
You need to quiet your mind, just feel relaxed, 
and try to enjoy the whole process. 
The process will become a pleasure 
once you are able to really quiet your mind.

Once you can slow down your pace and master the precise steps, you will find your own way of making tea.  When the process has become personal to you, that’s when you’ll enjoy the best taste from your tea.

Enjoy More and Worry Less: The Details

Sometimes, although you may try to drink your tea one sip at a time, you end up swilling down the whole cup at once. It takes patience to do something slowly and gracefully. If your mind is not empty and relaxed, how can you enjoy the color, taste, fragrance, or shape of the tea?  How can you identify whether this tea is smooth, sweet, bitter, light or strong?  Imagine your cup of tea is a village. Can you visit a village for just a few seconds and still enjoy the view?  Have patience and be relaxed, and then you can enjoy the details of your tea. Wander around and look for its character, its personality.

Why must we hurry to finish everything fast?  The next time you are walking to work, or shopping in the grocery store, try doing it slowly.

Be aware of the good feelings and let them last, 
just like having your tea.

Copyrighted by Huan’s Tai Chi

By Huan Zhang

Chief instructor of Huan's Tai Chi and Kung Fu. 6th Generation of Yang Style Tai Chi. 4th Generation of Five Element Tong Bei. Enjoys a good cup of tea, Chinese cooking and travel.