Let's go deeper into the differences between some popular Western methods of tea brewing and traditional Chinese methods of tea brewing. Some of these thoughts may have already crossed your mind, so I’d like to mention them here.
Whether it’s tea bags, flavored tea, iced tea, black tea with milk, or even some creative new tea brewing machine, all these methods of tea brewing share certain similarities:
And then, because this kind of unsustainable tea plantation is in operation, the ecological balance has been disrupted. When pests threaten the crops of tea plantations, people resort to pesticides to make sure the pests don’t ruin their crops, and thus their bottom line.• Furthermore, due to the use of pesticides and other chemicals, this kind of unsustainable tea can be harvested many times a year in large quantity. Then because the yield is huge, machines are required to process the entire output. When machines process tea, the benefits of mass production increase for the producer, as the more tea produced, the lower the cost per unit.
But the hidden, long-term costs to ourselves and our environment are staggering:1. More and more tea farmers are losing their traditionally sustainable ways of growing food, tea, spices, and other crops. Instead, they have become employees who have to do whatever those big companies or the government ask them to do. Millions of farmers are now spreading pesticides and other chemicals on tea plantations without any protective clothes year after year. Yet, the same big tea companies or tea factories that own these tea plantations are able to obtain “organic” and “Fair Trade” certification. If you’re interested in learning more how this broken system works, please check our online tea courses to find out how is this happening.
Drinking tea in artisanal way and brewing your tea using traditional Chinese tea brewing method by following healthy principles will actually force you to drink tea slower and in lower quantity.
The amazing thing is that by drinking tea in this artisanal way, you’re not only inviting health into your life – your shift in demand shifts the entire tea industry toward health and sustainability.
A person only actually needs about three to six grams of dry, loose leaf tea per day to keep the body in healthy balance.
Your slow tea lifestyle will spur the true tea artisans to produce high quality teas using their amazing, artisanal methods passed down from their ancestors. You’re not only protecting an ancient tea culture, but also encouraging a more biodiverse environment, protecting original forestland, demanding truly organic teas, and voting for actual fair trade for tea farmers and artisans.
Healing Yourself with the Five Elements of Tea
Tea, coffee, wine, marijuana, morphine…Humans never stop trying to find new things that can fix our bodies. We all know that both marijuana and morphine are actually medicines which can help fix some problems, but when we overdo it, they become drugs that are bad for your health. It’s the same with tea, coffee, and wine – they’re all amazing things that humans discovered, but when you overdo it, they hurt you – not just physically, but also mentally.
A great Qigong master said, “If we attempt to comprehend any profound philosophy, we must first be calm. When the mind is calm and clear, the judgment becomes logical and accurate.” This concept has led lots of great, ancient Chinese philosophers to write down the most profound philosophies, such as Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Mencius…
In ancient Chinese philosophy, we have two very common concepts: Balance and Doctrine of the Mean.
“The concept of ‘the mean’ is a core idea of Confucianism. It says that in all activities and thoughts one must adhere to moderation. This results in harmony in action, and eventually in a harmonious society. Pure harmony without wandering from the central tone (an image from the field of music), and standing in the center without leaning towards one side would keep all social positions stable. A man in a high position must not be arrogant, otherwise the people would rebel. Simple-minded persons in high position must not think of their own profit, otherwise the social structures would be disrupted.”
The reason I’m explaining the concept of the Five Elements is so you can clearly see that how you drink a cup of tea and how you behave will have consequences for you and the world alike. Balance and Doctrine of the Mean is the key to helping you to achieve a practice with great health benefits.
On this planet, from a little ant to the person right beside you, we are all connected. Every single one of your movements will bring different results to the health of yourself and others. I always encourage my students to take responsibility for their own health through the practice of the Five Elements of tea and other longevity exercises, and most importantly through changing their own thoughts and behaviors.
To save humanity, we need to expend more effort contemplating spirituality instead of concentrating solely on material science. And in fact, the more we concern ourselves with spirituality, the better the material science we can create. Through 5 Element Tea book, I want to encourage you to create your own style of a healthy tea life. Only when you find out how nature works and follow the laws of nature to discover your own spirituality will you find out that keeping yourself in healthy balance is actually very simple.
In my book - 5 Element Tea and the online course - Ancient Chinese Science & Art of Brewing Tea, I described the difference between the thinking methods of Easterners and Westerners. To expand on this topic a little bit more: no matter whether the thinking mind is Eastern or Western, we all came from nature. There is no right or wrong, but only when you can really understand the backdrop that encompasses these two divergent ways of thinking will you will able to achieve a real opening of the mind.
One of my very wise friends from the West said to me, “If you don’t have curiosity about people, and you’re not interested in anything about the people you meet and have no questions for them, I consider you not very smart because of your mind isn’t open enough to learn whatever you can from others. But I found lots of Chinese don’t like, or you could say aren’t even very interested in anything about other people. They only talk of themselves, only want to express their own opinions, and don’t care what others are thinking. Are all Chinese really so disinterested in what other people are thinking?”
This friend of mine is a very brilliant person with a very successful business, is very creative, but is also very humble and wise. No matter how successful he becomes, he’s always willing to learn from others, even people who might seem very lowly. He told me, if you really want to learn something, you’ll be able to learn so much even from a beggar.
Another one of my greatest Chinese friends is an amazing poet. His books have been listed among the must-read books for Chinese university students. He told me another very interesting and also very wise thought. “Humans shouldn’t keep asking questions of others. Continuing to ask questions of others is a bad habit that interferes with the thinking of others, and will also weaken your own thinking. You should keep practicing thinking, not asking. The one we should keep asking questions of is oneself; the secret of how humans can survive and develop has nothing to do with asking others how to do it. It’s all about the original question of how we think about how we can survive.”
Through two different thinking styles, each typical of a Westerner and an Easterner, I hope you can see my point: there is no right or wrong, black or white for how we think. Different thinking will lead us to different successes, but there’s one thing everything has in common: it all came from nature.
Whether you’re a Westerner or Easterner, if you like drinking tea or are interested in anything about tea, try using your nature to feel it and practice it. When you keep practicing the Five Elements of tea, it will not only lead you toward a simple and healthy way of drinking tea, but you’ll also discover your own nature and open your mind. Furthermore, the Five Elements of tea is a way of thinking and a way of living that will help us lift one another from suffering while promoting healing, transformation, and the realization of our ultimate potential.
The Theory and the Practice
The Five Elements of tea is related to five major themes: tea, human organs, weather, timing, and water movement. Progressing tea life from the basics to the advanced level is done by following the Five Elements. Higher levels of the Five Elements of tea will only be reached step-by-step with persistent, dedicated practice. In our modern society, we are always looking for shortcuts, “hacks”, or ways to get ahead quicker and better than others. This is exactly the path you should avoid so that you can get real health benefits from tea. There are no shortcuts to being healthy. When you practice the Five Elements of tea, the only thing you should focus on is following nature and letting nature run through your body, feeling it, and letting it bring about health naturally.
The Five Elements of tea is a process of accumulation. After you have read all the theory and absorbed it, let go of it and focus on your practice. The more practice you have, the easier you can pick up different elements of tea for healing different issues. This practice should become your habit. After more practice, without thinking, you can easily choose and brew the right tea to help you and the people you care about achieve long-term health benefits.
I think it's time to explore what the five elements of tea are and apply their theory to delve into your slow tea life. For the sake of Mother Earth, for the sake of your children and grandchildren, and for the sake of a better life for you now. I wish you all good health.
In Good Tea
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