This is not a manifesto.
Maybe a tiresomely long praise for tea and tisane;
glorification of tea drinking as an existential pillar that help meet various domains of human needs, whether physical, psychological or social.
what are physical existential needs?
Not a cleanse or detox, or whatever the fuck your latest online wellness influencer tells you using the language of shame.
the warmth and coolness of a sip of Moroccan mint tea hitting the tip of the tongue, the comforting smell of the star anise, the safe nostalgia in the colors of lavender, the primal touch of a terracotta cup.
Bodily health, safety, comfort, love for nature and beauty. And yes, subjective is the grotesque attraction of the ginger root – the more it fires up the left Prefrontal Cortex, the more subjective it is in fact.
For example, one such as myself finds beauty in rustic colors, beige, brown, gray, earth tones, woody textures. However,
web design elites say don’t use colors that remind people of human waste.
Well, too fucking late.
But I digress.
The predominant psychological needs are autonomy, freedom, knowledge, love for self.
One rainy morning, a random ad said: You have to have a complete SEO roadmap to all the right places from content to keywords to analytics so your customers can easily find your business: SEO is your key to Growth.
Self-love. Buzzwords. Self-care. Buzzwords. Wellness. Buzzwords. Keywords. Cultish lingo. The unclean other. Growth. SEO.
Wellness, no. Wellbeing, yes.
Maybe I’m a hypocrite.
Existential wellbeing: it coincides with the ability to be transparent and open to what life can bring, whether good and bad. It is only in facing both positive and negative poles of existence that we generate the necessary power to move ahead; and it doesn’t require a clean record of childhood experience, or a total devotion to the various online fads by influencers.
There’s a perfect space for the bitter aroma of turmeric as well as the sweet spiciness of licorice and as you sit and sip that tea, you can welcome all emotions just like you welcome layers of flavors and sensations.
Yes, it’s a ritual.
No, still not a manifesto.
Although I always wanted to write at least one before I cease to exist.
This is not a manifesto and there is no need to place positive and negative experience at either end of a spectrum, because they interrelate dynamically; determining the course of a human life.
Let the tears – of joy or sadness or anger or pain – run into the cup of tea.
Yeah it’s fucking difficult to be authentic with the self. Face the flaws. Face the shortcomings. Face your humanity.
But it’s powerful.
Self-made rituals draw their power from a personal element as well as an archetypal foundation; primal images that have been engraved on collective memory from time immemorial such a use of water to cleanse, use of fire to fortify, use of herbs to heal…
The ritual results in peace of mind because one comes to terms with oneself, not worrying about what is immutable. Beware that this is a deeper feeling of acceptance far apart from the toxic positivity prevalent in the current online climate. It is a purification process, where the individual restores contact with the authentic self without judgement.
Without the language of shame.
Touch those leaves, and recognize your vulnerability, taste their essence that’s become one with water, and accept your (im)mortality, let the vapor caress your face as you contemplate the ultimate uncertainty of all that is known.
Ground yourself as you cup your hands around your tea vessel, balancing the disturbance that comes from this openness, welcoming the angst that exposes us to our responsibilities and possible failures.
Once truly understood and accepted, the same disturbance becomes the source of energy that makes us ready for whatever the future holds, and helps us find the courage and wisdom to take those small steps necessary for change.
No manifesto is truly complete without an obligatory Rumi quote:
“These pains you feel are messengers.
Listen to them.”
But this is not a manifesto, so here is a more academic Eugene Gendlin quote: “Every bad feeling is potential energy toward a righter way of being if you give it space to move toward its rightness”.
In the meantime;
the social domain of human existence calls for esteem, success, solidarity, and love for others.
Tea, as a symbol of hospitality and commune.
Humans, gathering around the kettle hanging over the fire pit, a spread of high tea, samovar and saffron cookies, talking family drama neighborhood gossip national and local politics pop culture events.
Drink, listen, truly listen and truly see and truly drink and be informed of what’s going on around you.
Read the news; hear the news; live the news; from the most disturbing to the uplifting. Don’t over-click, (recognizing clickbaits is a natural consequence of staying informed) and don’t let your self drift away by superficial, reactionary, tribal anger;
don’t be afraid to take another sip.
Don’t be afraid to take another sip
even though it’s sad.
Don’t be afraid to take another sip
even though it’s infuriating.
Don’t be afraid to take another sip
even though it’s disturbing.
What’s the tea?
Welcome. Welcome sadness.
Welcome sadness and anger and disturbance and thunder in the sea.
Or worse, desensitized?
Sympathy can be cumbersome, especially if one doesn’t know how to cope with pain. Witnessing the suffering of fellow humans and the relentless violation of the planet we call home may create a state of mind called empathic fear, in which a person will react in stress, spreading a contagious atmosphere of turmoil because of their inability to alleviate the suffering – even by a simple act of offering a freshly brewed tisane.
There is a disturbing study on our tribal reaction to this suffering.
When one keeps the three realms of human experience in perspective and tries to meet these existential needs in a balanced approach, one can cultivate empathy to a level that a series of purposeful reflections will follow the first spontaneously expressed, superficial feeling, making space for those small steps to create change.
“The energy through which we can look deeply into our bodies, our feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and our consciousness, and clearly see what we really need, so that we are prevented from drowning in the sea of suffering”.
Thich Nhat Hanh said those words.
Confusing as fuck?
maybe this IS a manifesto,
and I haven’t even used the German original titles of the existential realms yet: Umwelt, Eigenwelt, Mitwelt.
(There just was no good place for them. Except this one right here.)
Speaking of which, here’s a well-placed last words by one of the first existential philosophers Khayyam:
“To wisely live your life, you don’t need to know much. Just remember two main rules for the beginning: you better starve, than eat whatever, and better be alone, than with whoever.”
Well, one can do all of that without the fucking tea, you say?
Sure, one can.
But then one wouldn’t be Teasturbed.
I cringed a bit writing that. I really should have stopped after Khayyam.