Pot of Tea Questions
Here’s a question I’ve been solving for:
How to be a good friend of my mind and of my body.
This isn’t a mug of tea question - it won’t get resolved in 45 minutes. It’s a pot of tea question; it’s going to take a while.
We live in a moment that equates faster with better; emails are faster than postal mail, washing machines are faster than washing clothes by hand, combines are faster than harvesting wheat with a scythe.
And faster often means we can do more, we can scale: send more emails, wash more clothes, harvest more wheat.
For some things, that’s essential. It’s fantastic that there are millions of copies of Beloved, rather than one copy Toni Morrison hand wrote that we would all have to share.
But for some things, faster is neither better nor possible. These are pot of tea things - how we find ourselves, the tension between belonging to ourselves and belonging to the world around us, moving through grief. These things need to steep; insight comes slowly, drips in quietly. And if we read the ancient poets and mystics, these are the things that they too wrestled with. They are matters of human being-ness.
We can solve for faster harvesting, printing, washing. But all the modern conveniences in the world won’t solve for what it means to be human.
Just because the pace of so much around us is lightning fast doesn’t mean the pace of self-discovery will be any faster than it was for the poets and mystics centuries before us.
There’s nothing wrong with us if we can’t figure out how to be a better friend of ourselves right away. If there are no fast answers, it’s often a sign we’re asking the worthwhile questions. They’ll need time, our patience, curiosity, tenacity. Our compassion, too.
So why not put on a pot of tea while we’re at it?
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