Tea leaves are simple. Put them in a cup, and pour hot water over them. That’s it.
Zen, which is “Chan” in Chinese, is a school of thought in Buddhism that emphasizes that all aspects of life can awaken one to enlightenment. The mundane tasks and the divine are all fodder for spiritual access. You just need to be mindful to each moment and remain with an open heart and mind. To the Chan buddhist, achieving Nirvana is simple and uncomplicated.
I drove to the store to re-stock our family’s fridge today. Mindful of the sunlight, the view of the hills, the blue sky, the visual notes of God’s creation attuned my thoughts from the errand ahead to a different key, “Thank you for reliable transportation, Lord. Thank you for the resources You provide us to be able to stock our fridge. Thank you for the endless variety of dried apricots my husband loves so much that I can access so easily.”
The prayers of gratitude for our family’s abundance is a reminder that we don’t need much. One of my other favorite people in the bible, John the Baptist, left a small carbon print on this earth, ate simply but understood the divine intensely. (I’m not sure locusts would taste that great to me, but with a little tea & honey…maybe?). The song of life he sang was clear–he was making the path ready for the One who would come.
A simple reading of the newspaper in the morning, enveloped by sunlight and a warm mug of tea by my side. Sitting in the bunk-bed with my sons talking about minecraft servers. Chatting for hours beside my hubby tucked in bed.
When I slow down I realize that the composition of life is full of God’s abundance. The access we have to the One is in the everyday. That’s it, pure zen.