Gongfu Blog: The Skill and Challenge of Writing a Blog

I was writing a blog.  For several months I had kept it up.  And for several months, I let the world peer just a little into my life, my thoughts, my way of making tea.  There was magic… And then silence.

What happened?  Where was I?  I asked these same poignant questions to myself when I would sit in meditation.  Hours spent at home and in the zendo, pondering my action and inaction.

It seemed that not only my writing was effected.  Life, too, had seemly been put on hold.  I was planning to go to China.  That did not happen.  Something that had meant so much to me allowed to slip through my fingers.

Maybe its the “zen/taoist” side of me that lets something like this happen.  I let change occur without trying to effect it in one way or another.  I simply sit and observe.  The teapot is brewing tea… I wait to let it get stronger but I don’t ever know for how long.  This seems to be my way.

It was when I was sitting down to make tea, just now, that I realized why I hadn’t been writing… Why I hadn’t finalized my plans to go to China; I was not listening to what tea (yes tea) was telling me.  For a full decade now I’ve been making tea in a “gongfu” fashion and it has taught me a lot about tea and about myself.  Who am I and what I make of myself is revealed in the way I make tea.  I am always chaffing with conforming to the rules of life and tend to “get bored” with them.  This can make me very ambitious at times, but also very self-critical.  “What am I doing?”  “Where am I and why am I hear?”  I ask these questions, although without a self-defacing tone.  Instead, I use them as a call and response to myself.  “I am here.”  “I am now.”  As with tea, “I am making tea with my friends.” “The flavor of the pu-erh is enhanced by the recent dry weather.”  All are indicators of “this time” and “this place”.

So, why no blog?  Why no China?

A blog is like a cookie trail… It reminds me and tells others where I’ve been.  Sometimes, leaving them is like leaving litter on a pristine mountain path… It just seems to add to the scenery without really adding anything.  If anything, it can detract from the experience.  I would rather enjoy the hike than follow the trail.

Blogging is hard (more than half “die” after 60 days).  Traveling is hard.   Tea is hard.  They are difficult when we allow them to become more than just practice.  When we try to hard to conform to expectations (our own and others), maybe our practice becomes hard too.  If a book or convention says that filling a blog with pretty pictures is going to attract more readers to your blog, then what happens if I chose not to do this?  If I expect myself to go to China this year but life just seems to move in the opposite direction, then what happens if I just let things play out?  If I over think it, is it really worthy of bothering about anyways?

Tea is just this too.  I just want to make tea.  As Rikyu said, “Just make tea.  When you can just make tea, I will be your student and you will be my teacher.”  This is important and should be a the center of all of our practice… At the core of our existence.  To just live.  Don’t over think it.

So, no photos this time.  I dare say that this article even constitutes a blog entry.  Alas, it is a practice in “gongfu” and a reflection on life living within the “way”.  Tea or no tea, I will still make tea.  Blog or no blog, I will still reflect upon where I am and what I am doing.  Maybe I will write down my answer, but mostly they remain wordless.

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Filed under Education, Poetry, Pu-erh, Uncategorized

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