Please share with us a little about you, describe yourself in five words.
Introverted, compassionate, warm, present, alive.
Tell us about your journey? What brought you to where you are now?
I discovered Tea – or more likely, Tea called out to me – in late 2019 when I was still living and working in Hong Kong. As a Malaysian-Chinese transplant, tea as a beverage is something common, and I used to call myself a “tea snob” for sussing out “good tea”. When I sat for my first ever tea ceremony at Fivelements Habitat with my dear Tea sister May Nogoy, I received, in essence, a message and awakening. The nonverbal transmission I received during that single sit was so transcendental – so beyond even this version of me, who already abided by a daily practice of meditation and a strong affinity with spirituality – that I went back a month later to revisit this experience. At that point, I was very certain that Tea had called me forth. I knew that I had to serve, and thus began my journey on The Way of Tea.
What has been your biggest inspiration with the work that you do and share?
Think about it. Out of billions of people in the world, we have crossed paths at this moment in time, in this very space, to share Tea. I don’t know how you feel but I certainly am mindblown every single time at this miracle. What a gift!
We learn not to drink Tea with our Mind and Eyes. Sometimes, even, not so much with the mouth or palate or taste buds, but with the Heart. We do not need labels or names.
Metrics and methods are important, but I always tell my honourable guests and students that without a spiritual connection, without first understanding the language of Tea, these are merely filters that can cloud our hearts, blur our intentions. However, when that connection and understanding is established and continue to be harnessed with a Beginner’s Mind, Tea Spirit lives and thrives on. This is the spirit and heart of Cha Dao.
What sparks joy in your life that truly lights you up? (This could be big or small).
The vulnerability of falling in love; I sit here holding this bowl, feeling the curves and indents against my fingertips; being able to now reach more in need and help those on the journey to heal from disordered eating find inner peace and freedom.
What are your favourite soul or self-care practices right now that you can share with us?
My daily practice of sitting in reverent silence with Tea is vital for me to start every day on the right note. Tea master Rikyu once said, “If you don’t know a life without Tea then you don’t know Tea.” so on weekends when I am not serving others, I go out into nature and feel into how what I cultivated in the ceremonies are ripping outward to other areas in my life.
During these times that we are experiencing as a collective, in what ways are you seeing the importance of community?
So vital. When I host Tea Ceremonies I always say that we are all meeting for the first and last time *like this*, and when we come together we are weaving a mandala of love that is invisible to the naked eye, but absolutely palpable for all of us in the energetic field. When we come into stillness, we can feel the incredibly uplifting power of this mandala. I continue to hear great feedback from my guests and the awe it strikes in them whenever they feel it themselves.
Though I sweep and sweep,
Everywhere my garden path,
On the slim pine needles still
Specks of dirt may yet be found.
When below the eaves
The moon’s flood of silver light
Chequers all the room,
There’s no need to be abashed
If our heart is pure and clear.
When you hear the splash
Of the water drops that fall
Into the stone bowl
You will feel that all the dust
Of your mind is washed away.
In my little hut,
Whether people come or not
It is all the same.
In my heart there is no stir
Of attraction or disgust.
What have I to give?
To my guests for their repast
If I don’t rely
On the monkeys of the vale
For the fruits they bring to me.
There is no fixed rule
As to when the window should
Closed or open be.
It depends on how the moon
Or the snow their shadows cast.
Flowers of hill or dale.
Put them in a simple vase
Full or brimming o’er.
But when you’re arranging them
You must slip your heart in too.
Every morn and eve
When I sweep the Dewy Path
All is calm and still.
Though it seems a guest is there
No one comes to lift the latch.
Many though there be,
Who with words or even hands
Know the Way of Tea.
Few there are or none at all,
Who can serve it from the heart.
If I look upon,
The still mirror of my heart
What there do I see?
Is it the same mind it was
Yesterday, or it is changed?
There’s a thing that should be swept
With our busy broom.
‘Tis the dirt that ever clings
To the impure human heart.
Though you wipe your hands
And brush off the dust and dirt
From the tea vessels.
What’s the use of all this fuss
If the heart is still impure?
Since the Dewy Path
Is a way that lies outside
This most impure world.
Shall we not on entering it
Cleanse our hearts from earthly mire?
When we leave behind
The Three Worlds’ Abodes of Fire,
Storm and Passion tossed,
Entering the Dewy Path
Through the pines a pure breeze blows.
Just a little space
Cut off by surrounding screens
From the larger hall.
But within we are apart
From the common Fleeting World.
In the Dewy Path
And the Tea-room’s calm retreat
Host and guests have met.
Not an inharmonious note
Should disturb their quiet zest.
On a Chinese stand
Vessels all of various shapes
Made of gourds are seen
‘Tis a feast that we receive
Both from China and Japan.
Just a simple shelf
Hanging from the corner wall
By a plain bamboo.
All we need in such a world
Are these artless simple things.
Take a “Go’ bamboo
Split it up and from the joints
You can fabricate
All the things that you will need
For the use of Cha-no-yu.
When you take a sip
From the bowl of powder Tea
There within it lies
Clear reflected in its depths
What was the last sign you received from the universe (if you had one)?
Oh the signs are everywhere at every moment. So far this week, I have had many dreams. One of which was a dream in which I witnessed black feathers turning into smoky quartz points. Today I drew a card from my favourite Osho Tarot deck, and a card with an eagle came to me. I absolutely love the Universe.
“Tea teaches us to treasure the most simple and almost negligible moments. Life is a ceremony should we choose to see it.”
Share with us something that you are really proud of?
I believe that we should always be proud of all the things we manage every day, whether big or small. I think for me it has been the stride I took into holding space and serving beings who are struggling with disordered eating. Coming from 10 years of anorexia and various eating disorders, and being able to fully recover from this and transcend the subconscious blueprint conditioned by external circumstances, I believe in my own voice now in helping guide others. It took a lot of inner work for me to get here so I am very proud of this and cannot wait to see what will further unfold on this path.
What will you never take for granted?
Every breath I take. My body. Love. Everything!
What is your favourite practice that connects you to your heart ki/energy? (Please share a tip, tool or technique to support our wellbeing?
It comes with no surprise – Tea Ceremony. It can be as simple as sitting in silence with a few Tea leaves in a bowl and hot water to connect with the heart. Setting the intention to connect, allow and receive guidance from the Universe is tremendously powerful in bridging the sacred and mundane moments in our lives. Tea teaches us to treasure the most simple and almost negligible moments. Life is a ceremony should we choose to see it.
Rest the palms of your hands on your heart centre, take a soft breath and share with us a message from your heart?
I make incredible souls come to life.
What’s coming up next for you?
I currently work privately and hold Sacred Circles with beings with restrictive and disordered eating through a fluid, intuitive programme called A Space To Be Free to make way for full body acceptance and true embodiment of the present moment in both their spiritual and human existence.
Learn all about how Your Body Is The Home For Your Spirit. Book in for a complimentary Share and Heal Session worth £300 now, or explore offerings of Tea Ceremonies and Cha Dao classes through my website.
Tune in to LiYing’s offerings:
LiYing Lim helps others find their own inner peace through the art of the tea ceremony.
Keep following the Emerald and Tiger blog for the next Breathe Love interview.