To be an authentic yoga teacher, I started reading more eastern philosophy, namely Thich Naht Hanh. I usually prefer more words to less and tend to understand long, complicated sentences a la Henry James or E.M. Forster more easily than simple ones. Yet, Thich Naht Hanh, in all his simple sentence glory, was perfectly clear about the cup of tea. He was explaining how one must strive to be present in every moment, a lovely and classic yoga maxim, and used his experiences washing dishes and drinking tea as examples. He said that when he washes dishes, he concentrates on the water and the suds and the heaviness of the dish in his hands. He said one should drink a cup of tea without distraction—inhaling the vapors, cupping the warm mug, resting the lips on its heat, and feeling the hot water coat the throat. It is more enjoyable, I think, to fully enter a single experience than to layer noise onto noise onto noise.
Still, Thich didn’t have a baby, I’m pretty sure, so he might not have realized that for a good portion of the population, sipping tea in silence isn’t always an option. But, it isn’t always not an option either. Every day has at least five minutes: five minutes to sit on the front stoop and study the trees or the neighbors, to nuzzle an animal, to chew your food, to fix something that is broken—that sort of thing. Sometimes Clara seems like distraction incarnate but other times I just want to give her inner Buddhist a big, messy hug.
Below, she discovers her cup of tea in the form of a brownie and lets it take her to her own special baby nirvana: