It feels good to be travelling again. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks visiting Malaysia and Taiwan, both searching for tea and visiting various people I’ve come to regard as teachers. It’s interesting to look at the past couple of weeks and see how much I’ve learnt in such a short period of time. It feels the same each time I come to Asia – it’s like each time I take a big step internally in my relationship with tea… perhaps I appreciate a new aspect of tea or relate to it on a deeper level, re-examine my brewing or the effect my teaware is having.
My meditation teacher used to explain a lot about the importance of having a guide for meditation and spiritual practice, often making the comparison of a mathematics teacher in a school. With a teacher, addition, multiplication, even complex algebra can be learnt in a relatively short period of time. This knowledge would take so many lifetimes to acquire on one’s own. It’s the same with tea. When I’m on my own, I do make some progress – slowly though. With a teacher on hand, I feel like I take giant strides.
It’s difficult for us in the West I think. Many of us don’t live near or have contact with other tea lovers. I think to develop the wish is a good starting point. From there we make a small effort and gradually come into contact with more and more tea people. The internet, with it’s various blogs and forums, is in general good but there really is no substitute for drinking tea with people face to face and sharing our knowledge and appreciation of different aspects of the tea we’re drinking.