Behold here the tree, the bush, and the leaves
Behold the human, that cultivates seeds
Witness the withering, whining, weeping
Watch how they’re chosen, select for flogging
Torn, battered, broken, blood drawn out, seeping
Pushed to the limit and scorched by the sun
Rolling, frying, steaming, and drying
Pushed and pulled between wraiths and flesh
Taught to survive, to evade baits of death
Tell me now, is this tending or torture?
Does this enrich life, or seal the tomb’s closure?
But you, cultivating one, know the end
You know the value that these lessons lend
But I do not speak of the plant, it’s true
I speak of another, I speak of you.
Human’s have created a process in which they unknowingly mirror their own life. A process in which they could learn so much about themselves as individuals and as humanity but so often miss. We, as the leaves we so love, begin our lives as fragile beings that must be tended and cared for tenderly. The condition of the soil, the environment, the methods of care all affect how the bush will grow; it will have a strong pull on the final product. In the same way, all these things, our home, our family, our habits, all affect the way we grow. And how lovely it is to behold a growing, maturing, being. How beautiful it stands on its own without any interference. But as we know, when beholding the wonder that is the tea plant, those leaves have so much more potential. They have the ability to rise, to expand, to leave a legacy… but with some help. These leaves cannot become tea on their own, they cannot reach their potential simply sitting in the sun looking gorgeous. Someone with the knowledge must come pick them and process them in the appropriate way. If leaves were sentient beings they would most definitely complain and fight against this process which in their view would be brutally painful. If we could communicate with them, we’d tell them to just wait a little longer, to hold on, that the pain will pass quickly, that this is a necessary process in order to transform them into something greater.
Let me tell you, we are like these leaves. Each one of us going through our own “rolling, steaming, frying and drying”. Each one of us being condensed through trials and tested through hardships. We, like the leaves, can only perceive things through our own experience, but we can learn to become aware of the opportunity these hardships can offer us. We do not know the future, but how we navigate through the present will continually alter it.
Two possibilities exist in how we can find ourselves suddenly inside a hot wok feeling the life drain out of us. There are two types of challenge, two types of pain. One is that we have a dream, a goal to achieve that requires hard work. So we reluctantly yet voluntarily throw ourselves into the flame. Here we may complain, we may be bumped and bruised so badly that we find the idea of giving up quite appealing. Yet we must continually remind ourselves that this is what it takes, we must continually seek others who have walked our journey beforehand and who can encourage us to persevere. The Second type is we are unwillingly thrown into painful situations in life. In this case we must remember that deep suffering makes inconceivable joy possible, in contrast to one who suffers little and becomes bored of the precious small victories in life. Is this suffering then to be sought? Is it then a privilege? It is not. But it is a fact, it is an inevitable fate in the lives of many, and a heart searing experience to those who do not avert their eyes. Chances are we will experience both types of trials, some more than others but nonetheless, we must harness the understanding that these experiences serve to refine us. They enable us to become outstanding beings who leave unforgettable legacies behind; like how tea leaves behind those piercing aromas, and those soul reaching energies. So then,
Endure the trials
Persevere through the pain
Embrace the kill green