My friends and family know me so well - the way to my heart is through my senses. For Chanukah, I received a beautiful glass matcha bowl accompanied by a tin of organic matcha from the AMERICAN TEA*ROOM, a company that is new to me, but one I am sure I will be purchasing from soon. While I tend not to be a fan of glass containers for matcha, preferring the feel and the taste that comes from clay bowls, this new vessel has me pleasantly surprised. For one, it is larger than the small glass (often double walled) cups that hold a single serving. As large as many of my other ceremonial matcha bowls, the size and delicate nature of the glass invited a more mindful and gentle handling with both hands. The matcha itself was gorgeously green, and easily whisked into a frothy, bright green foam. On the tongue it was pleasantly bright and smooth, without much bitterness.
With all that is going on in the world, here and abroad, students and patients keep asking me, "How can you find any peace right now? How do you not react with anger and hatred?" Of course, this is a tad presumptuous. During the past few months, especially during the second week of this past November, I struggled with my Metta meditation practice. Daily I would remind myself how every living being has the exact same fundamental longings and desires - to be safe, to be happy, to be healthy and to live in ease. Each of us reach for that goal in differing ways. For some, a wall will keep them safe, while others view that as a recipe for further separation and suffering.
When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own - not the same blood or birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.
Today, I recite my meditation: May we all be happy, may we all be healthy, may we all be free from danger, may we all live in ease.