This evening I went to a tea house.
On one level it was all very simple. You sit down in comfortable chairs at a small table, in a quiet place with soft lighting. You order tea. After a while a tray is brought, bearing traditional hand-made clay pots and little clay cups. You pour. You drink.
But the experience is actually much more than that. Everything — the subtle flavor and aroma of the tea, the act of pouring, the calm stillness of the place — conspires to slow down time, to create an alternate universe, shielded from the hum-drum cares of the world outside.
A properly designed tea house is a place of quiet magic, where the noise and craziness of life gives way, at least for a while, replaced by thoughtful conversation and calm reflection.
It gives you time to remember that we are far more than the random daily winds that buffet us. We each have deep places inside ourselves, and perhaps there are words of calm reason that speak to us from our souls, if only we can quiet things down long enough to hear them.