So, what did I observe, as I sat in the ‘spectator space’ as an outsider to a long, slow process of education into tradition…
I watched my friend pause (cautiously, nervously, in her act of pouring tea, sweat forming on her upper lip, her eyes sliding towards her teacher, asking all at once for approval, instruction and independence), and I suddenly burst into tears.
Nothing in this room, amongst the objects, bodies, and space between objects in this room, was meant to mean more or less than anything else. The cup was not subservient to the brazier, the brazier to the tea itself, and neither tea celebrant, nor recipient, was any lesser than the other.
That’s what it took 10 years of training to begin to feel; another 10 years to inhabit and maybe another 10 or more to fulfil.