I travelled to India with the University earlier this summer. Soon after arriving, our group quickly acclimated to the custom of having frequent tea breaks. While touring one of the Tibetan monasteries, for example, we were served tea–not just once but twice. When I was out shopping in the market and being indecisive, the owner sent his assistant to another shop to buy tea while I contemplated scarves. During intermittent breaks from classes, our group was offered tea and cookies. Another shopkeeper preferred to give up his own cup to me rather than eat his dinner in front of me. This gentle act of hospitality was humbling.
I’m starting to realize that maybe serving and receiving tea is not only an act of generosity, but also an intentional time for tranquility-for slowing down. I recently read the post by Scott Dinsmore on the zenhabits blog that when we are constantly running around, we don’t allow our minds the space to be creative. If we are constantly bombarded with new ideas, how can we ever have a chance to create our own? Perhaps tea will help combat my creative funks and better yet my distractibility.