Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. ~Thich Naht Hahn
I really enjoyed reading Christine's recent post on Tea & Honey Bridal Shower Favors and thought I would share how I use tea making and drinking as a form of meditation. When you view meditation as "paying attention to yourself and your surroundings", tea meditation can be a form of awareness that exercises all of the senses. It is leads to the understanding and contemplation of the interconnection of many things.
Try tea meditation.
Feel the weight of the kettle before and after water is added. Smell the tea leaves before and after steeping. Listen to the kettle sing. Watch the way steam dances. Notice the shiny, wobbly reflection of
kitchen lights in your drink as you slowly walk with the tea cup. Feel when the floor transitions from tile to carpet or hard wood as you leave the kitchen to enter another room.
Take note of every detail during the process of making tea. Pay attention.
Ask and answer the following:
Sitting with tea
When you are seated and ready to sip your tea, sit upright at the edge of your chair. Hold the tea cup in one hand while placing the bottom of the cup on the palm of the other hand. Hold your cup of tea comfortably in front of your chest. Sit and take a few deep breaths before taking your first sip. Let the cup become an anchor. See the subtle synchronized motion of cup and breath. Connect to the warmth and weight of your cup of tea. Notice, perhaps, that the steam is now feint and fading. Feel how this grounds you.
Sipping the tea
Mindfully take your first sip. Feel the soft press of porcelain to your lower lips. Note how the tea warms your tongue and enlivens the taste buds. Listen to your gulp. Keep breathing between sips. As you carefully drink your tea, continue to pay attention to what you feel, hear, see, touch and taste. Notice how the cup gets lighter as you drink more.
Feeling the warmth of tea
At some point, take the hand that was holding the bottom of the cup and place the palm against your cheeks. Feel how the warmth softens your face. Then place the warm palm over the heart. This often evokes a
tenderness that relaxes and soothes the mind.
The interconnection that tea brings
When the cup is empty, continue to hold it in front of your heart. Close the eyes and feel how the cup coordinates with the breath; how there is a natural bobbing of the arms and hands from your inhales
With your eyes closed, contemplate the interconnection of things. For example, if you had chamomile tea, think about the different plants and flowers that grew for this one cup of tea. Think about the bees that pollinated the roses, hibiscus, and chamomile. Think about the gardeners, sun, rain and soil. Think about the packaging,
manufacturing and retailers. There is an enormous chain of direct and indirect activities that unfold in each and every moment.
Tea meditation connects us deeply to the interconnection of all things. It is a great opportunity to study what has taken placed and travel led to be with us in a given moment.
Finish by repeating the following note of thanks:
I am grateful for this cup of tea
The work of many hands
And the sharing of other forms of life
(adapted from Simple Meal Service from a recent silent retreat)
For more of my insights on meditation, writing and yoga, please visit yogaofwriting.net