Tea Never Changes

By  Vanessa Webb | 


From a moment of meditative reflection, to shared tears and laughter, time spent around a cup of tea is what makes the experience a world of its own.  I read a post on social media recently, about a simple cup of tea….or, maybe it was penned as, the simplicity of a cup of tea, I don’t remember exactly.  Regardless, my thoughts jumbled into thinking, “But a cup of tea isn’t simply just a cup of tea?!  I mean, lives are built around cups of tea!”  Whether we sit alone in silence pondering our thoughts with that cup of tea, or share a cup with friends and family (perhaps fumbling with etiquette around pinky up or pinky down), there is so much storytelling, wisdom and light shared around a cup of tea.  These times fostering enough compassion and empathy, that frivolities of the pinky surely don’t matter.  And maybe that’s it….maybe because tea is so simple, so pure and reliable, that everything opens up (or pours out) around that purity, as any kind of truthful moment provides. Truth just doesn’t require complexities, it has its own legs to stand on. 

Cups of tea have heard absolutely everything, from the deepest secrets (taboo or otherwise), to the most mundane, yawn inspiring drivel.  Cups of tea have sat with us as our only friend, have nursed us back to health, have gone cold waiting for our conversation to take pause long enough for a sip.  A cup of tea has seen us through the loss of family members, the joy of greeting a new child, has blanketed us in the sleepy shadows of 2AM.  I will forever remember my Grandmother’s way of asking, “would you like a cup of tea?”…no matter for healing tears, sitting for a bit (with a little biscuit), or just because it’s considered an essential part of the day…sharing the news even when there isn’t any to share.

A cup of tea finds itself being poured in the garden, the kitchen or family room, it’s even poured at the front stoop.  It’s poured at the corner tea shop, bringing neighbours together for an impromptu social gathering; enabling a community to thrive as neighbours catch up with news and gossip, or endeavour to solve the matrix of a chess game.  Most urgently a cup of tea is poured straight from kettle to cup…these ones are a crying shame but loyalty remains.  A cup of tea develops and maintains bonds across generations…through its simple ritual and its heartwarming memories that could never be replaced.  The heart hears these moments around the tea pot as clearly as the cup does.  This is where we heal, even when nothing is wrong…we commune, we do what humans do best…we listen, we contribute, we work things out, but most of all, we engage. We learn that life is not all glitz and glam but nor is it all bad. They seem to be one, the heart and the tea…both knowing the same secrets and dreams without a sliver of betrayal to either. If a cup of tea could speak, I don’t know if it would want to..but what could it say? Like the heart, cups of tea have heard it all, having silently invoked our confidence and trust; gleaning threads of connection from the chatter it invites, yet leaving with no trace of judgement nor threat of exposure. 

Tea, it stains our teacups it stains our teeth, from English tea to Assam tea, from Indian Chai to Moroccan mint, Turkish tea to Chinese tea leaves…they all tell a story, and some, even your fortune. A cup of tea is a ritual, it’s a blend.  There is science around ritual that when performed brings any event to life.  In the deepest teachings of Yoga, the Vedic Seers knew the science of sequence; they knew that, bringing life to a seed required a sequence of steps. The shared experience that unfolds around a cup of tea was preceded by a specific series of steps.  And like those steps leading to pure awareness, these steps can’t be skipped. When something so simple touches the Soul, you sit with it…because somehow you just can’t help it.