Life is best enjoyed in short spans. Take it any longer and all kinds of negative sentiment will start forcing themselves into the gaps, giving it a bitter-sweet flavour. Although, when that happens, life is actually at its fullest and would be best savoured like vintage wine, with maturity and wisdom. But for an unseasoned player like me, life is appreciated most in short spans, like a cup of tea.
A cup of tea can be enjoyed in ten to twenty tasteful sips, not long enough to think too much, except the cup in hands and its delightful content.
Colour and scent - these would be the initial impressions of a cup of tea. As with experiences in life, expectation is important. Too high an expectation, disappointment will ensue; too low, and there'll be no satisfaction to cap the experience. The colour that meets the eyes and the aroma that fills the nose will help set the expectation for an enjoyable drink.
But before the first sip, caution is to be practiced, and haste is to be avoided. No matter how enthusiastic we are towards life, we should not jump into it blindly. Life is to be taken without haste, and caution is required to avoid unwanted surprises. Feel the cup. If it can be held with both hands without being dropped onto the floor, then life is ready to be relished. If it's too hot to be handled, then it's not the right time to handle. But don't let it "over-cool" either. Too cold, it will lack aroma and taste a bit bland. The moment needs to be seized.
When the tea is ready to be consumed, the first sip should be just enough to immerse the tongue. There should be enough room in the mouth to let the tea swirl. Feel the smoothness. Allow half a sip down the stomach to wet the throat. Hold the balance in the mouth for a few second. Taste it. If it helps, close your eyes. Let neither the worry of the future, nor the regrets of the past be a distraction. Explore the senses, seek out the details, enjoy the delicacy, live the moment.
Now, tea is tea, as is life is life. Our mind is a wonderful magician. With the slightest shift of perspective and attention to details of whatever we're holding - sweet can be bitter, bitter can be wholesome, wholesome can be thin, thin can be rich, rich can be plain, and plain can be sweet. Beauty arises from our perception. Beauty brings out satisfaction, satisfaction draws out optimism, and optimism leads into happiness. Life can be wonderful.
After the first sip is down, the experience is not at an end. There's the after taste and the lingering aroma. These are memories to be brought forward for the next sip. Adjustment to our expectation should be made if necessary.
The thing about a cup of tea is, when we have finished enjoying it, the regrets of the past or the worries of the future which wasn't in the picture before might now change their tones or their hue on second look. And life could be a lot more optimistic after a pleasant drink.
But, if you didn't enjoy the tea before, although you can't throw it away, as in life, you can finish it in a few quick gulps and get it over with. The next cup is always just a few moments away for us to start anew.
That's my cup of tea for the moment - another post, another cup; another excursion, another cup, another journey, another cup; another day, another cup.
If you didn't enjoy this cup, do come back another day for another cup.