Even as we are essentially the same, the nature of being human appears to be a complex phenomenon. We are different aspects of the same, have the same essential spirit, but are never the same. Being so, would defy the very nature of the duality of being. Just as tea comes basically from the two main species of the Camellia family, grown in
China and , we are all of the same species of Homo sapiens. But just like there are many hybrids of these two tea bushes, we humans too have differing characteristics within the same species. Not everyone is sensitive, compassionate, stubborn or selfish. Some of all human tendencies must be prevalent in each one of us, but in varying degrees, and each of us has certain defining characteristics. Some of which are genetic, some are learned, and some are cultural and environmental. It can get quite confusing because each of us has so many layers of familial and cultural histories that frame our being and thinking, but drawing this parallel with tea enables one to look at things more objectively. And this morning, it was a refreshing reminder to start off the day. India
Taking this analogy with tea a little further, I thought, if I do not like someone – the way they taste, what I mean is - the experience of being with them, then all that is required is to not drink that flavour again. Seems simple ha!
Tea is an important ritual in my life, a refreshing drink at best, sometimes nourishing too. However, I can live without tea. But people, on the other hand, are not so easy to dismiss. Some yogis and spiritual aspirants do seem to eschew involved relationships but as long as one lives [unless you retire into some remote forest with only wild animals for company] human relationships seem to be the fulcrum of life. Without them there is nothing to do. Just imagine being born on earth and there being no-one else around. Who would teach you how to walk or talk, prod you into yelling, allowing you to experience that emotion of anger? Who would move you to tears, to write verse of love and longing? Compare yourself with? Compete with and more? Who would you fight with? [Imagine there being no Mahabharata, especially its sagacious wisdom on the art of asserting your truth/dharma as outlined in the Gita]. Seems pretty awesome, to consider this emptiness: the futility of a life without the noise one usually bitches about. But then the question arises: why is living with people such an arduous experience? A life-time can go past and one still doesn’t quite know what to make of people, even those close to you, with whom you may have spent the better part of your life.
If the teas leaves bound together in this small, almost opaque paper bag, whose brew I now sip, could speak, I wonder what they would say about their experiences of dealing with the logistics of compassion and compromise, so essential to a happy co-existence in any limited space.
This story is also available as an audio recording on You Tube, recorded by Suraj Andrews https://youtu.be/jGa2jDI1HzQ