©2010 Photo by Genevieve Violette
What do you do when you have an enemy? Do you passively retreat or defiantly confront? And what do you do when the enemy is found within your own being? Most of us live in a state of constant inner conflict, while others allow themselves to be governed by their self-hatred. But a true warrior chooses his battles wisely, and will often resort to combat as a last solution. Because being peaceful demands more honor and dignity than the willingness to fight. So then, how do you surrender to peace within yourself? Sages and mystics have always prescribe meditation as the pathway to finding inner harmony. The spirit of mindfulness applied to a physical task often helps achieve this sense of balance. Because, honestly, who can stay in the Lotus position for 5 hours until they reach enlightenment?!
In Japan, the tea ceremony is a form of meditation. Every gesture is a reminder to stay focused on the present moment. The japanese term Ichi-go, Ichi-e translated as“ one chance in a lifetime” reminds us that each passing encounter can never be duplicated again. Therefore, the tea ceremony is more than the act of drinking a cup of matcha, it is a ritual focused on the devotion of the present.
In fact, zen monks cultivated and prepared matcha tea as a part of their daily monastic life. They drank it in order to remain mentally alert during extensive periods of introspection.
Through meditative solitude one may begin the process of unification within themselves. Unfortunately, for most people, the thought of being alone makes them cringe! It’s like putting someone in the same room with their foe. No one knows if they’ll come out alive! Although it may be challenging, it’s worth facing the parts of yourself you fear the most without wanting to annihilate them. Enter this loneliness with a spirit of grace, and if you find you’re easily distracted, use the tea ceremony as a means to concentrate. By occupying your senses in the physical world, your mind may feel safer wandering the unknown parameters of your psyche.
So what do you do when you face your worst enemy? You lay your weapons down and have a cup of matcha instead.
©2010 Text by Genevieve Violette