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Letting Go, Creating Space, and Finding Value: Seasonal Tea Club Autumn 2023

Letting Go, Creating Space, and Finding Value: Seasonal Tea Club Autumn 2023

As late summer passes into autumn, the Earth becomes cool and dry, contracted and condensed, drawing inward for accumulation and storage. This time of the Metal energy is when the crops of summer are cut, harvested and stored for their use in winter. Wastes are eliminated, like winnowing chaff from wheat, and the essence is kept. Before the modern age, it was vitally important that the harvest not fall short, as there need be sufficient energy stored for the winter to generate a healthy, strong new cycle in the spring. Metal energy is related to the lungs, which are responsible for exchanging fresh oxygen from the environment for carbon dioxide from the body's cells, as well as the large intestine, which eliminates waste while retaining vital fluids. Just as the trees shed their leaves and bees drive drones from the hive, this time of the year is about bringing in (lungs) fresh inspiration while letting go (large intestine) of stale emotions, unnecessary attachments, excess baggage and unresolved energies from the Summer. Autumn is a time of hardening seeds, fallen leaves and sinking sap as well as the qualities of inspiration and endurance. There is a slight nip in the air, and days get shorter. Just as animals begin to store food away, we too become more internal and less carefree than summer. This is a time for gathering, storage, preparation and protecting.

Letting Go

The metal element, associated with the Autumn, is all about cutting through illusion and letting go of unnecessary attachments. This is the beginning of the descent or “Fall” into winter. Just as nature drops seeds and leaves, it’s a time for us to let go of sensual and egoic attachments so that we can focus on what is essential in our lives. Archetypally, the yogi and the alchemist are associated with the metal element. The yogi lets go of worldly attachments to achieve non-dualistic awareness of reality, while the alchemist refines gross material or metal into gold. The alchemical process is allegorical for the process of transforming our base nature into divine nature through the process of inner work. Spend some time with this tea reflecting on your sensual attachments, plans and the seeds you planted in the spring and summer. Is there a sense of grief associated with letting things go? Can you see that by letting things go as fertilizer, we create fertile soil for the growth of spring? 

You cannot will yourself to be non-attached because desire and attachment are hard-wired into your biology. If you try, you become attached to being non-attached. The doorway to real non-attachment is through ever-increasing awareness of the present moment and your own presence in that moment. The more present you can be with the moment as it presents itself, without wishing it to be different, the less attached you are to what has happened in the past, and what you imagine will happen in the future. At Living Tea, we like to practice being present while drinking tea. Not only do you taste and feel the tea in a different way, but it’s good practice for being present all the time. 


Thich Nhat Hahn has a nice quote that we share with folks on the first day of our retreats (like the one coming up in the mountains outside Mexico City in October, wink wink). The quote is: “I have the impression that many of us are afraid of silence. We’re always taking in something- text, music, radio, television, or thoughts- to occupy the space. If quiet and space are so important for our happiness, why don’t we make more room for them in our lives?” 

In the Fall, trees drop their leaves, leaving only bare branches. Fields which have given up their harvest lie fallow. Space is created. Space and spaciousness are qualities of Metal. The lungs and their ability to draw in fresh inspiration are associated with the Fall. The term “room to breathe” captures the essence of Autumn as well as one of the greatest gifts of a daily tea practice. Meditation, space, and daily tea practice are all opportunities to let go of all the stresses and burdens we carry in our lives, the same way that trees shed their leaves,. This daily spaciousness allows us to connect with the intrinsic value and sacredness of our lives. This breath, this moment, this tea, the capacity for wonder, curiosity, appreciation and awareness. This ability to connect with the “precious metal” or rarity of your life, is a key factor in developing reverence for tea and for that matter, your life. 


Precious metal like gems, rubies, diamonds, gold and silver are valuable because of their relative rarity. As a store of value and wealth, we often attribute value to purchasing power. We live in a world that places great emphasis on money and accumulation, thus obfuscating the intrinsic value that we have just by virtue of being alive. Many people struggle with having a sense of value and self-worth because they’ve been conditioned to place value in external possessions. In economic terms or from the view of the ego, value is relative and ranked. However, from the view of the oneness of life, everything has a value that is neither more nor less than the value in anything else. Everything must exist for everything else to exist by virtue of the fact that if it didn’t exist, life in this moment would be different. Without getting too philosophical, what’s essential is that we find confidence in ourselves for our intrinsic worth, our beingness. The healthier our metal element is, the less we need recognition from the outside. We don’t need to prove our value through our achievements, knowledge, monetary status or “usefulness.” What a relief. Oftentimes, when people come to a tea session and sit in silence with other people, they are able to drop the persona that insists on proving it’s value. This can be an emotional experience because they are getting in touch with the essence beneath the façade that we often feel pressured to preserve. 

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