A Tea Meditation Guide: How to Find Peace in Tea
By: Lu Ann Pannunzio
“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; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”– Thich Nhat Hanh
Tea time is a special moment that easily brings people together to connect over a cup or two. At times, when we are drinking tea, whether it is alone or with others, we are not fully aware of the cup or even our friends sitting there. It is said, and proved, that just to enjoy tea is enough for happiness. Thankfully, Thich Nhat Hanh has a practice for tea meditation that simply brings the mind back into the body while indulging in tea. As a beverage that is typically advertised with many health benefits such as calming effects, tea meditation can be a practice for many and it is a lot simpler than it may seem. In fact, there is a chance that many are already practising this meditation act without even realizing it.
Practising tea meditation can be done at any time of the day. Follow the 10 simple steps below to begin your spiritual tea journey.
1. Pick out a teacup, whichever one calls to you, and set it down mindfully (all acts done during this process should be completed mindfully).
2. Step aside and select the tea you wish to steep. Any tea may be used, it just depends on your current preference. Do you feel like something bold, something lighter or something sweet?
3. Grab your kettle and pour fresh water in it (tea should always be made with fresh water for better quality-you can reuse the extra water for something else-please do not waste water) and allow your kettle to be brought to a light boil.
4. As you wait for the water to boil, sit and practice a short breathing meditation. Place one hand above your chest and the other on your stomach. Listening to the faint whistles of your kettle, inhale and exhale, observing your breathing until it is time to turn the kettle off.
5. Depending on the type of tea, and since you’re technically not supposed to use boiled water on tea leaves, rest with the kettle to the side to let the water cool for a bit. Use this time to cool your mind as well. Inhale. Exhale. Feel the steam from the kettle around you. Inhale. Exhale.
6. With your full attention, place the tea you selected into the teacup you were drawn to. Pour the heated water over your tea bag or tea leaves. I would recommend loose tea used here because it is the perfect opportunity to focus on your tea leaves dancing in the water, expanding and extracting full flavour, colour and aroma.
7. While you allow it to steep for the duration recommended sit beside your teacup and simply follow your breath, noticing where you are in this exact moment. Also, give thanks for the cup of tea that is in front of you right now. Think about the hard workers who picked and processed the tea to get it to where you are now.
8. When the steep process has completed, using both hands, hold the cup and draw it to under your nose to inhale the present aroma. What do you notice? Let it take you back to a wonderful moment or create a new one in your mind.
9. Slowly bring the cup to your lips, take a sip and ask yourself again: what do you notice? Continue to enjoy the tea, sip by sip, savouring each one while bringing your mind back into your body.
10. Always remember that the process of tea meditation is nothing more than letting yourself concentrate on one thing at a time. End your tea meditation with giving thanks again and realizing the incredible moment you just experienced.
Thich Nhat Nanh does a tea meditation with Oprah Winfrey if you would love to share his experience, click here to watch the video.
Purchase your tea drinking essentials, like our Namaste Mug at our store.
The Cup of Life tea blog: www.theteacupoflife.com
Main image by Andrew Reilly Photography