“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves –
slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.
Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Mindfulness is a state of being, achieved by focusing your attention and awareness on the present moment; accepting the feelings, thoughts and physical sensations felt throughout your body.
Tea mindfulness, the art of drinking tea with awareness and focus, is a simple way to find a moment of stillness and calm in the day. When it is difficult to meditate, bringing moments of mindfulness into the day through everyday activities, like brewing and enjoying a cup of tea, is a wonderful alternative. Paying close attention to, and appreciating the finer details of, preparing and brewing your tea will also allow you to enjoy a more enriched drinking experience that will engage all the senses.
A rich history already exists in tea mindfulness. Buddhist monks have long used tea to help maintain a gentle alertness whilst meditating. Today tea continues to be served in many monasteries to encourage a state of clarity and emotional balance.
Formalised Tea Ceremonies, a ritual practised in Japan over many centuries, involves four guiding principles: respect, harmony, purity, and tranquillity. Traditionally undertaken in a Tea House, these ceremonies allowed guests to enjoy the hospitality of the host in relaxed and harmonious atmosphere.
How to make a mindful cup of tea
Taking some of the ideas and principles of these traditional customs and ceremonies, it is possible to experience the benefits of tea mindfulness in the comfort of our own homes. Below are some suggested steps to make a mindful cup of tea, but feel free to personalise the process as suits you best.
- Choose a tea to match your mood
There is no single best tea for mindfulness meditation. Choose a tea to suit how you are feeling and your taste preferences, whether that be a type of black tea, or one of the many green or herbal tea options. With quiet focus prepare your cup or pot.
- Listen to the kettle boiling
Take time to patiently wait and listen to the kettle as it boils. Enjoy this moment and settle into yourself and your breathing.
- Let it brew and watch as the tea changes colour
Pour the hot water over the tea and observe as the colours slowly deepen. With intention and focus prepare the tea as you wish.
- Sip slowly
Sip slowly and savour the taste and warmth. Resist the temptation to multi-task or engage in other activities as you drink. Between sips try noticing your breath and use it to calm and centre yourself. As you sip again notice how the temperature of your tea may have cooled and whether the intensity of flavours has changed. Allow your cup of tea to fill the whole moment, turning the time spent making and drinking tea into a moment of meditation.
Bringing mindfulness to simple activities like drinking tea trains us to direct attention consciously. It’s a simple way to remind yourself to focus on the present, without worrying about the past or feeling concerned about the future. Drinking tea with mindfulness can help you feel calmer and more relaxed, and will allow you to better connect with yourself and those around you.
By Kerrie Clayton
Kerrie has been a member of the AHHCA for over 10 years and is currently part of its Committee of Management. She is a qualified Holistic Health Practitioner and Reiki Master. Kerrie may be contacted via www.wellnesswithkerrie.com