Transforming Fears into Tea

In an article in the Fall 2009 edition of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Marc Lesser suggests five ways to make more of your time by doing less.  To Lesser, doing less is a lot harder than most of us realize.  It sounds so simple, but it is often quite complicated to actualize in our lives.  To enjoy living at a slower pace and to get more meaning from what one does, Lesser suggests eliminating five “self-defeating habits.”  These include fear, assumptions, distractions, resistance, and busyness.  Such behaviors lead us to “do more and accomplish less.”  Relinquishing these self-defeating habits can help us relax and—to use a hackneyed phrase—“stop and smell the flowers.”

Although fear can be an ally inasmuch as it has the power to allow us to focus, stay safe, and remain living, it is usually detrimental in our everyday lives.   Fear creates unnecessary obstacles that most of us would prefer not to face.  Lesser explains that when we encourage our fears, “we are no longer receptive and playful.”

tea     Fortunately, he suggests a way we can deal with our fears that involves tea!  You may want to try it.  Get a piece of paper and a writing utensil.  Think of what your top five fears are.  Write each of your fears on a piece of paper.  These fears can be what you fear will happen soon, or what may happen much later.  Remember, these top fears should be the five most present in your mind.

Now here’s the catch—make a large pot of tea with enough liquid to fill five cups (one per fear).  After it brews, fill up the five cups with the tea you’ve just made.  How does it feel?  Marc Lesser writes, “When we acknowledge and open up playfully to our fears, they tend to lose their influence and power.”  There is a good chance you might feel that way after trying this tea experiment, or perhaps it is inspiring and relaxing just to read about.

Originally published at

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