In the heart of Patan, Nepal, I was inexorably drawn to a charming tea house. Through its windowless wood-framed windows, I glimpsed a scene of monks engaged in serene conversations over cups of sweet-smelling tea.
Stepping inside, I felt like a foreigner in this cozy local enclave, but to my astonishment, warm smiles greeted me. The waiter, sizing me up with a friendly glance, asked, "Chai?" I nodded, "Yes, please," and found a quiet corner to settle in.
Within moments, the waiter delivered a steaming cup of the tea. As I took that first sip, an astonishing sense of calm and focus enveloped me. It was as if the very essence of mindfulness had been captured in this brew.
"Wow," "What a tea" I whispered under my breath.
Savoring its flavors, I found myself locking eyes with a serene monk seated across from me.
Breaking the silence with a tranquil smile, the monk posed a question that caught me off guard, "Do you know why it's so important to drink tea every day?"
Perplexed, I replied, "Well, uhh, yea. I it's good for you right?"
The monk chuckled softly and gracefully moved to take the empty seat opposite me. "This tea is special. You must drink it and think calmly. It can be very helpful for your life."
Suddenly he beckoned to the waiter, revealing their camaraderie, and, to my amazement, we found ourselves in the back kitchen, embarking on an extraordinary tea-making and drinking journey.
Here's what I learned: