I do have a mad, wild passion for authentic, artisan tea for its myriad of flavors and aromas, its aesthetic and Qi, and because I have seen it literally transform folks within a span of a few cups. Tea creates friendship with self and other by means so astoundingly simple, it's elegant (or vice versa). Tea has been both my stalwart mast in turbulent waters and sun-warmed canoe down lazy rivers of life. I don't know of any substance in the world that I feel more akin to. Tea is good medicine.
My default plan since I was 6 has been to join an ashram/monastery/church. In reality, I am probably too socially orientated and unpredictably creative for the cloistered, contemplative lifestyle. Yet I am a seeker of peace and a quiet revolutionary - not in a political sense but in the most fundamental way of becoming one's Self. When I discovered tea ceremony about 7 years ago, I felt that it was integral to my journey of knowing thyself. It therefore made sense when I learned that tea has been a monks friend for over 5000 years.
And of course, along with many others, I am totally disillusioned with 21st century Western culture. For most of my life I have struggled to find my basic values reflected in the cake-face-glamour/consumer driven culture we live in. There are, however, more and more rays of light streaming forth from the cracks in The Wall these days and it's exciting. I am finding in riding the rays, we can find ways to live authentically, humanely, and joyously. Being a tea monk is my way-ray and I am having fun sharing it with other people. Tea is teaching me about simplicity, optimism, tranquility, harmony, compassion and gratitude. Tea or bust, man.
But, with everything said, I sense that there is something more at work here that I am not aware of, a deeper mystery that I have given myself to that some call the Way of Tea, and I feel it's intrinsically connected to the Tao/Source of Everything that is Beyond my Comprehension. To be honest, I am not sure what it is or what it means. I am not a tea-hipster nor is this a PR - identity, I actually want to live it out and see where it takes me spiritually and in service to others. So I surrender to the Guru's feet in the form of the Tea Ancestor as the provider for all my experiences from the people I meet to the food I eat. I have tried the '9 to 5' for decades and found it to be anti-Self; I think this is as worthy of a human experiment, if not a whole lot kinder.