Tea drinking is a habit long associated with longevity, health and vigor. It is a drink which goes hand in hand with many of the traditional art forms of the East. Substance and activity have intermingled — in many cases — to the point where it’s difficult to imagine one without the other. Taichi classes, Kung fu, calligraphy, meditation, Yoga, often lead inexorably to a steaming pot of leaves. Tea has a way of reinforcing our good habits. From an esoteric perspective we would say that it aids in digesting the energy which we generate from activities related to Qi.
One branch of traditional tea brewing is called Gung Fu tea. The name refers — as with marital disciplines — to the hard work and great skill involved in creating a masterful display. Throughout the 300 odd years that this style of tea has been developing, kung fu tea allows one to show off their level of inner civilization — internal alchemical development. This recalls the line: “often have monks chosen to duel with tea”. Tea is in many ways the process for spiritual realization and the goal — the pilgrims progress and the ultimate attainment of the Way.
Tea is viewed as a most wonderful antidote not only for toxins accumulated by the body and for the cluttered mind as well — dispelling excess elements collected in the etheric. It is this added intangible quality which makes tea so unique. Much as with Yoga, Taichi, meditation, results gained from the practice often far out stretch the perceived out put of energy. To move slowly, that one may be able to move at the speed of the mind, such is the promise of Taichi. Within Kung Fu tea it is the at first a baffling notion that a tiny cup of tea can deliver a far more impactful experience that liters of leaf brewed without the same care, and conscious awareness.
The body in many ways follows the dictates of the mind. If our concern is to lose weight it would be advisable to look to how our mental habits have led us to a state of physical imbalance. Our limitations in tea brewing, or any other of life’s pursuits, are often measured by our ability to let go what what is extraneous. When we wash the tea before the first brew, it is not generally a statement about the cleanliness of the tea leaves. It is a reminder that this timeless process is washing over of our mind also — like an internal shower. With such an attitude of humility and compassion for ourselves and others, there is really no limit to the quality of tea soup we are able to brew out.
Each tea variety has certain health benefits associated with it. For this reason certain teas are preferred by those living in certain climates with certain diets. Beyond this, representing perhaps 2% of the harvest of a given year, are teas which go far beyond constitutional grade tea. These teas offer glimpses of the transcendent, to the degree to which we are able to hear their silent tune. When you meet with one, for the first time or for the first time that day, all the world falls away and in such moments all things seem possible — and in fact they are.