THE LISTENING SEED
The student of a master gongfu tea master, upon asking why his master’s tea consistently tasted better than his own, always got the same answer: “I just love tea.”
This sounds like a story from the ancient Chinese text, the Zhuangzi, but it’s actually a true account shared with now tea master, Wu De, in his recent article published in the June 2017 Global Tea Hut Tea & Tao Magazine. In it, Wu De writes about the noticeable difference in the taste of tea brewed in antique pots, using antique cups and antique utensils, as opposed to using modern tea ware.
“When you love tea, you love the vessel it’s prepared in, and you know that after you’ve created the [tea ware] piece, some tea lover will take it home and appreciate it as you have, as much for its beauty as for its ability to improve his or her tea.”
This is such an eloquent way of explaining “Do what you love.”
When you do what you love, it not only brings you joy and fulfillment, it makes you intrinsically good at it.
View, Georgia O'Keeffe's beloved Ghost Ranch, photograph by Brea Fisher
I studied with a healer who became a mentor of mine for several years and she used to tell me, “You at your worst is better than someone else at their best.” This used to comfort me when I lacked self-confidence, but my understanding of what she meant took years to fully comprehend.
At their most basic, her words spoke of the potency of the techniques she taught me. Beyond that, she was really referring to Love.
The more you love what you do, the better you are at it.
Or, perhaps it’s better stated this way:
The more you cultivate a loving relationship with that which you engage yourself, the more available you make yourself to the power of that Love to instill in you an excellence in whatever practice you do.
Remember that time your friend made you dinner and even though it was just a simple rice and vegetable dish, you couldn’t get over how good it tasted? You had to ask— what was the secret ingredient?— and they told you: Love.
If you see everything as energy, this answer is totally acceptable. And even if you’re more physically oriented, it has a reasonable explanation.
When you find something you love to do, you tend to do it often, and all that practice makes you really good at it.
So maybe your friend loves to cook. Or maybe she loves to make that particular dish. Perhaps she loves making meals for friends. Or maybe it’s a combination of all those. The end result is that you can taste her love. And love tastes damn good.
Witnessing someone doing what they love is an experience that is more enjoyable than seeing someone do it who feels just so-so about it— and it’s way more fun than seeing it be done by someone who doesn’t like doing it at all.
The more you love to do something, the more others love to witness you doing it.
This qigong form is called Breathing from the Heart. It’s a form that uses the body to rebalance the give and receive flows. It’s very beneficial for those who tend to give more than they receive, but it’s also a really good way to use the body to tap into the love you have to share with the world.
When you move through this form, imagine opening your heart and allowing your Love to flow beautifully from you.
To equalize yourself from there, and to help you experience the love others have to give, use the palms to gather back into your heart.
I usually have these free mini lesson films ready to go for you with narration and form notes on the screen, but this is one I’m working on for my upcoming Lesson Film Subscription Series, so stay tuned for the full-length version.
I encourage you to follow along, and if you do, here are some form notes that will assist you in the movement:
Breathing from the Heart to Balance the Give and Receive Flow
1. Begin with feet parallel, anywhere from hip- to beyond shoulder-distance, knees soft, spine straight, shoulders relaxed, and the tongue touching the palate.
2. Inhale, lift palms to middle dantien (heart center) level, turning them inward gradually; arc them as the arms open and the elbows draw earthward.
3. Exhale, lift the chest and the chin as the palms draw toward the earth, skyward facing, knees extended.
4. Inhale, bending the knees, draw the palms back up and around to face each other at the level of upper dantien (brow center); the chin drops to level.
5. Exhale, turning the palms earthward as you draw down the front on the body, extend the knees and end with palms at lower dantien level (2" below navel).
6. Repeat at least 3 times, ideally 9 times, and 36 times if you really need a self care treatment.
When someone finds joy, fulfillment, or peace from seeing you do that loved thing you do, they are actually receiving a transmission of your love, which is why it feels so good.
Doing what you love is actually a loving act for others.
It not only boosts your heart, it brightens anyone who witnesses you, and therefore lifts us all. When you do what you love you radiate Love to all those involved.
Where have you experienced the feeling of witnessing someone else’s love of their art? I’m so interested to hear about it. And, if you know someone who could use some encouragement to keep doing that thing they love, please forward this along their way. I’d love it.