Tea came to me in in my late twenties, around seven years ago. As the story goes, my mom and sister decided to go to a tea seminar together and asked me if I would like to join them. At that time, I had no connection to tea whatsoever, but I loved the part in Karate Kid II when Danielsan was having a tea ceremony together with Kumiko.
That tea seminar changed my whole perception of tea, especially when we got to the part when we were drinking Taiwanese oolong brewed gongfu. I found it very charming. (The tea was really nice, too.) That tea experience changed something in me - something was lit on fire. Today, I think it was the peace in the tea and ceremony that really touched me.
Back in those days, peace of mind was really something I needed. I suffered from a deep depression and my whole life seemed gray and without any direction or purpose. I had already tried meditation for some time, and it did help to balance me out more and relieve some of my pain. But Tea came and suddenly, a completely new world opened up to me, calling out to me to explore it. Tea became of more interest to me. I started learning Mandarin, Asian history, pottery, religion and spirituality, flower arrangement and bonsais, biology and plants, etc. The list of tea-related studies is endless, as it seems like Tea is connected to everything.
I needed healing in those days. I needed to slow down and get back in touch with myself, and so I spent many bowls and cups drinking tea by myself. Over time, my relationship to Tea changed into something bigger. I participated in many tranquil tea sessions, reminding me of the clarity I'd sometimes experienced in deep meditation sessions. Then I started drinking tea less judgmentally, more "just drinking" the tea: feeling it, listening to it... Meditation and Tea seemed to merge more and more naturally for me.
With this changed view, which felt more "real" in a way, I discovered more and more truth in life and insights started to slowly unravel for me. It is this kind of learning, which you can only attain by yourself in moments of clarity, that creates the fertile ground in which we can grow roots.
Then, I stumbled upon the words "Cha Dao" on the Internet and subsequently found my way to older publications of Wu De and other writers. As I was reading, I was in awe. For the first time, I was reading something that would put those personal tea experiences and insights into words. I realized that there are more people in search of true tea wisdom, and that Cha Dao is not just a thing of ancient times - it's very much alive!
I really ended up getting in touch with the Hut due to my dear tea sister, Robekkah. I am so grateful that I met her, as she and her boyfriend, Christian, are not only such warm and kindhearted people, but were the last missing, connecting piece for me to lead my way to this wonderful community of tea-loving people like you all!
As I tell many people now, I am not worried about getting lost in life anymore, as I have a compass now, and the needle is a bud with two leaves. May you find your compass too!
Big hugs to all you out there! Come visit Robekkah and me in Berlin and let's share some peaceful tea sometime!