The storm in the tea cup

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished in due course.-Lao Tzu

Aidan Rocke

In a glass of mineral water, I release a droplet of dark calligraphy ink. Then I observe the ink droplet dance in the crystalline glass.

I simply observe this chaotic dance for ten minutes or less while my mind settles on the true nature of calligraphy ink. My mind will not try to predict a particular evolution of the calligraphy ink, open to all the possibilities, and for that I must be fully present.

I close my eyes and the evolution of the ink droplet comes into greater focus. Thus, I discover that the true form of the ink droplet is simple. But, discovering the simple essence is hard.

It is mesmerizing to watch the dance of the delicate foliations branch out as smooth trajectories that disperse into space. There appears to be no rhyme or reason, a purely chaotic motion, but there is in fact a sufficient reason for everything.

In my mind there is mostly stillness as I watch the formless black droplet gradually transform into a myriad of forms, infinite possibilities. There is poetry in precision as I observe words magically form out of their own accord.

For a moment I felt as if I was watching the evolution of the Universe. It is very difficult to observe the final cause or destiny of the Universe. How can we? By looking within ourselves. Without deep meditation we can only see a small part of the evolution of the ink droplet.

Some will argue that it is all random, and means nothing, but to the person that can see the whole picture without fixing their mind to a part of the whole…they experience wholeness or what the Ancient Taoists call the Tao.

As I watch everything unfold I am humbled and reminded of my limited understanding of the unfathomable wisdom of the Cosmos. Where there is confusion there is ignorance…which finds its most delicate and sublime expression in the storm in the tea cup before me. So an old Talmudic saying comes to the fore:

Consider God’s handiwork; who can straighten what He hath made crooked? (Ecclesiastes 7:13)

Finally, for a moment my thoughts are silent…but I dare not disturb the silence.


For attribution, please cite this work as

Rocke (2023, July 28). Kepler Lounge: The storm in the tea cup. Retrieved from

BibTeX citation

  author = {Rocke, Aidan},
  title = {Kepler Lounge: The storm in the tea cup},
  url = {},
  year = {2023}