God is the offering, God
is the offered, poured out by God;
God is attained by all those
who see God in every action.
Stephen Mitchell translation
At home on my own, I often like to drink tea in the following way:
I set up a space, sweeping or cleaning if needed; bring out all the implements ~ teaware, incense, tea, heat elements. By the time the space is ready, so is the water, which has been heating on the flame. Sometimes I play music, or sit in silence and absorb the sounds around me.
I make three bowls for myself, which lift the needle off the looping record of my thinking mind, and help me resonate with the vibrancy of the Now, the pulse of Nature within and around me ~ the Tao, or Way of things.
The fourth bowl is poured as an offering to others that come into my mind spontaneously at the moment. I serve them a bowl and visualize them in my heart, wishing them well.
The fifth bowl is drunk by me, as an offering to my soul, the Divine, a deity, or a combination.
The tea in the bowl becomes something beyond its form, the act of pouring tea remains itself and at once becomes something unbound by any ideas or concepts. It’s a practice, but a gateway seeing deeper meaning in life’s everyday movements.