One of my reflections during one of my favorite activities: enjoying tea ceremonies in little tea houses found nestled into the mountainside of Maokong, Taipei, Taiwan.
There is a place I sit. This place exists in the busy city, but is tucked away into a sanctuary of green. Yet unlike other hideaways, this spot of quiet stands above, above the city, glaring down upon the steel and concrete. Its nature rises above the feats of man. It’s as if the world is saying “Climb as you may, but never will you conquer.” But if this is the reminder, it is not the feeling, the embrace.
Here in the fog-covered slopes, the mountains wrap around you as the dew covers the broad green leaves.
This place. This stone upon which I sit. It is not just a place where you can hear yourself think. Those places can still be found within the walls of the city. This place is where you can let yourself think, let your thoughts flow warmly over the porcelain cup like fresh brewed tea, hot from the source. Your mind the smooth, round, earthy teapot; the perfect vehicle for brewing reflection.
Upon which thoughts, ideas, and emotions spring steaming into the cup of this mountain who is waiting to receive them in anticipation. Those dried shriveled leaves of thought, wrinkled and packaged from the labors of the man-produced fruits of the city. Here, in this place, they loosen and warm, releasing their potential, wisps of steamy consciousness slip little hints of existence out into the universe.
As the day fades and the water cools, the mind is left brewing its final herbal moments. The clay pot is refreshed in its use. The discarded leaves of today’s reckoning have a glistening spent look, sad to the untrained eye but glorious to those who delight in deep pondering.
Those darkened, de-tightened leaves serve as a reminder of today’s accomplishments. Not in the feats of mankind, of the hustled and bustled city dweller, but of the undoing of what man has done. Once sucked in, gathering potential, gathering gravity and stress, tense folds hiding their potentials are now relaxed and freed of their holdings.
This place of stone upon which I sit. This place of nature is naturally the place from which sips of knowledge come in the form of miniature blue-cream cups of my tea ceremony.