The first 2014 Mindful Writing class led by Susanna Williams was a 6-week workshop developed in response to participants in former Mindful Writing Classes who, once they learned of the powerful nature of applying mindfulness to writing, wanted to take this process even further.
A central part of this class was participating in a Japanese Tea Ceremony with a practiced master and her student. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony is more than just drinking tea; it is an experience that embodies harmony, respect, purity and tranquility that is delivered and received in mindful presence. The experience provided a rich cultural and contemplative springboard for mindful writing.
Some excerpts from participants in the class:
Tea itself is an art of what is needed. We need communion with others. We need the simple act of being in attention. This is not standing at attention like rigid soldiers frozen in perpetual salute. Being in attention is different. It is the act of sharing mindful moments with others. It is the art of watching with one set of eyes as the ladle slides down between the thumb and forefinger until it rests in just the right place. It is the sound of the whisk swishing inside the bowl as the green powder blends into the hot water and then foams with agitation until it is brilliant and beautiful. It is the feel of all eyes on your face as you sip the hot thick liquid resting against your lips that bursts into a thousand flavors in your mouth.
The experience was very different from the mindfulness meditation that I practice. In meditation, I experience my breathing, and then, again and again, I catch myself carried along on some stream of thought, and I bring myself back to the present. What I have learned in meditation comes from practicing gentleness in recalling my mind back to the present, and from noticing where my mind goes when it wanders off. But in tonight’s tea ceremony, there were no stray thoughts, no rhythm of drifting away and bringing myself back. I was fully present, without effort. A beautiful experience.
– Fred Maus
I feel so grateful to be writing again. How seldom an experience I indulged which is, I think, a complicated issue – that indulgence. I feel so much more in control of my mind now – able to be contained by an entitlement to the luxurious peace I feel.
– Ben Meguira
These are only a few short excerpts from a bound book of all the participants’ writings that was created using a Japanese bookbinding technique. The book was created as a gift to the tea masters who served us so graciously and who also joined us in the writing session after the ceremony.
Please join us for the next writing class: Mindful Writing – Coming to Your Senses!
This is a workshop that uses mindfulness practices to explore dimension in our inner landscape. Cultivating a deeper awareness of our own senses and the wisdom we accumulate through the experience of life can lead to a richer palette within.
March 10 – April 14 6:00 – 8:30pm
Register Online | Pay Online via UVA EPay
Filed Under: Monthly Musings