Tea and Zen are one flavour is an often heard refrain among the students of Cha Dao — the Way of tea. It can just as easily be said that tea and qigong are of one flavour, or go hand in hand. For many of us that practice qigong, taichi, meditation or similar energy based arts — yoga — the practice of one informs the other. For many of us the practices become inseparable, with one both informing and fueling the other. This blog is intended as something of a dialogue, or document of this these pursuits — in hopes that it inspires others to grasp that which is (perhaps) most ephemeral.
Kevin Hartwell (@gentlepathwalker) is a student of nature. He describes himself as cultivating peace, presence and balance, through the energy arts of tea, qigung and Reiki. Kevin practices in Ucluelet, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, in. Ucluelet is a wild and lush temperate rainforest of towering ancient trees, cloaked in moss and mist. This ancient rainforest is the center of his spiritual practice. It is also home to eagles, wolves, cougars and bears.
Erick Smithe is the living link to a number of exceedingly rare ancient Chinese disciplines. Like all good “monks” his disciplines are equally divided between martial and the healing arts — in addition to aesthetic pursuits. Upon the completion of many years of study in language and culture in Taiwan, and with the publication of the translation of Chao Dao —From Tea to Tao for the Cha Dao Research Society of Taiwan, Erick returned to the West. A classical wildman in the old Taoist way, he is currently in exile in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Fate facilitated the introduction (via Portland) to the eminent Kevin Hartwell, with whom he shares this dialogue on Tea and the Energetic Arts.