Monday, 13 July 2015

How Do You Like Your Tea?


I haven’t been enjoying my morning cuppa for a while and it’s been bothersome because I like the idea of drinking tea in the morning. Coffee is too strong and something I indulge in only when I am really tired and need to keep going. Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste and aroma of coffee but it just wires me up too much. But while tea does add a dash of caffeine to my lazy morning start, it’s not a jolt; it enables a steady, watchful pace into the day.

I have been experimenting with all kinds of teas, mixing up unlikely leaves to get something, a new taste, infuse some flavour into a jaded palette. And, over the last couple of days, I have realised that I just want a sweeter brew. I want it milky and sweet and this is something new for me. For years now, I have kept both the sugar [well, I take sugar-free instead] and milk to an absolute minimum, to relish the flavour of the leaf – the essence of the tea –rather than bury it with the add-ons.

May be it’s just a phase. Maybe it’s the heat or maybe I am just feeling a bit lost in the mire of doing. I don’t really know at this point what is causing this change from the subtle to the robust taste of things, but it is something I have noticed and am curious about.

It’s taking me back into the watchful mode, making me look at my days, my feelings and thoughts in an active way which, with all that doing, all that work, that doesn’t really do much other than exhaust me and leave little room for reflection, has been enervating indeed. I love looking at life unfold. I like to see how miracles occur in the day, how my thoughts create or how things unfolding around me create my day – its events – not necessarily stuff that delights, but bringing forth anger and irritation and more. I have realised that it isn’t so much about being busy as it is about not being able to deal with the stuff inside, the emotional ups and downs through engaging with people and not getting the desired response, or having to deal with their energy levels which could well be at odds with mine. And over the past couple of weeks of some quieter moments, I have realised it mostly comes about because of judging the way that I feel.

I was coming out of the pool the other day and a young man of thirty-something, who had been playing with his wife and kids as I swam my 50 lengths in under 40 minutes [it’s a small pool so no more than 825 metres], commented on my stamina. He was a virtual stranger and I was taken aback and, in my awkwardness, didn’t exactly take the compliment with enough grace. And that made me start the old babble inside the head. I stopped myself saying, it was okay to have been awkward, I was taken by surprise and focused upon getting out and getting back to work, I hadn’t expected it. And it was unusual one, don’t you think? 

A few moments later, I did something else that made me feel guilty – even as I was asking something of someone, knowing full well why I was doing it. And it made me realise just how much one does tend to judge oneself for things.  Where does this judgement come from? Who has decided what is the right way and the wrong way to do things and live life?

I have just spent a whole twenty days tuning into the Hay House online summit and heard over thirty-five speakers over three weeks. It was very inspiring. I learned many things and certain things that I had experienced were given definitions and more in the same vein. But what I noted especially about the whole summit was that everyone spoke about different things. Some were scientists who had learned about the spiritual dimension through their work and some were just people who had been abused as children and found a way out. Others were people who had evolved deep philosophies for their own life which they shared as courses and books and stuff. What interested me most were the stories that everyone had to tell, where the most miserable of circumstances and enormous pain was not something that they allowed themselves to be stuck in, but through which they have found their own philosophy and techniques to live a better and happier life.  Often the ideas of one could seem to be in conflict with other speakers, but this is what made it a great lesson in non-judgement. It was so apparent listening to diverse voices from all parts of the world, from various disciplines of learning that anything and everything leads to a deeper understanding of the spirit of being. And that there really is no other path for everyone other than what your life has charted. It’s about the proverbial Mahabharata of our personal lives, not something that is understood or arrived at by renouncing the world. What we need to renounce is judgement that says this is right and this is wrong.

I was sharing this with a friend, who then asked but what would you say for a man who has just killed someone in road rage? We had been discussing a mutual friend’s sudden illness when the conversation turned to this as I was trying to explain the mind-body connection. I was telling her how illness is essentially caused by suppressing our feelings and not expressing them, for various reasons. She said would you condone the killer, would you say that it was not wrong? I didn’t have to think this one through because for me it was the same thing – the sick person and the one who carried so much rage inside of him were coming from similar spaces of suppressing their feelings, of not finding the courage to express. In effect, probably judging themselves for feeling whatever it was because someone, somewhere, had dinned it into their heads to either get over it and let go, or such like. Something we often do, when we cannot listen to another’s pain.

I also noted that some of the summit speakers impacted my mind more than others. I tried various techniques, choosing a few that fitted in well with the way that I liked to meditate and heal the chakras, etc. But, above all, what I enjoyed listening to was the way everyone had positive things to say about experiences that could debilitate the best of us into not feeling good enough, into not wanting to get up and face the day, into despair and depression. Non-judgement didn’t come from sitting and saying why did I say this or that, or why did I think this or that and feeling bad about it.  It came from an acceptance that what they felt and experienced was what they knew and that their experiences taught them. Once we become aware, things do change. Life was their teacher and this inference was uplifting. 

My need for a more robust flavour in life, for sweeter and milkier tea rather than the subtle was just something that I needed to allow to come into being, for it to reveal the change in the mental patterns and resultant body chemistry. Maybe I was more willing to experience life in a more robust way. Or, maybe I needed a more robust flavour to bring me back into the fray....whatever it was, who’s judging, right?