A new form of meditation is rapidly on the rise – that we can't get enough of at Tease: Tea meditation! Combine your daily cup of tea with 20 minutes of tranquility to increase centeredness and gratitude that’ll carry over into your busy schedule. I find this works particularly well with those new to meditation, as it helps increase clarity and focus in the mind while in the act of preparing tea. It's simple, anyone can get started.
Preparing your tea ware – In traditional tea ceremonies, it is customary to position all tea utensils in an exact arrangement prior to brewing. Whether it be a matcha whisk, a silver stirring spoon, your favorite vintage teacup with saucer, or an infuser, carefully and intentionally lay everything you need on a clean table while recognizing the feel of each object and the way in which you place them. Sometimes, when I’m feeling extra fancy with my Duchess of Earl tea, I like to put out my sugar and creamer set with elaborate gold sugar cube tongs to enhance the aesthetic. Anything that acts as an extra spark of inspiration or visual stimulation should be a part of your layout.
Boiling the water – As you fill the pot with water, fill your heart with feelings of gratitude for all things. This can be as simple as appreciating all of the small details in your tea preparation. Turn on the fire and observe its blue-orange glow while sensing its warmth with utmost thankfulness. Notice the prism-like rays of light that refract through the water as the tiny air bubbles start to ascend into a stream of wispy vapor. As you wait, take advantage of this waiting period take in deep breaths, sending positive energy throughout your body. Finally, as the water starts to move, continue to breathe as you surrender any negative thoughts you may have, not holding onto any one but letting them evaporate just as the water is releasing its heat.
Steepingthe leaves – Before steeping, take in the fragrance of the tea and notice all the colors, textures, and subtleties of the leaves with mindful appreciation. As you add the water, watch as the leaves expand and disperse their flavors in swirling motions. Inhale the aroma arising from out of your cup. Turn your awareness to each ingredient that contributes to the full body of the tea. Witness the touch of all the things that come into physical contact with your hands – the hardness of the teapot handle, the coolness of the metal spoon, the sensation of a water droplet, etc.
Drinking the tea – Once you sip your tea, become aware of the different flavors playing upon your taste buds, even allowing it to sit in your mouth to truly savor all of its notes and layers. Is it sweet, earthy, fruity, bitter, creamy, and/or tangy? Be present with the entire act of drinking until the very last drop - from bringing the cup to your lips, to the flow of tea into your mouth, to tasting the brew, and to feeling the warmth as it permeates throughout your entire body. Take the time to observe your surroundings and appreciate each moment while you heighten your sense of being with the space around you. If your mind wanders into thought, simply acknowledge it and let it pass. Bring back your focus to every sip of tea as it energizes your body and spirit.
Cleaning up – When you’ve finished your tea, clean each article on the table one by one just as meticulously aware of each action as when you prepared the tea ware at the beginning. Recognize how the utensils and space are slowly being purified as you cleanse. Remain conscious of how everything feels according to your touch, fully enjoying the practice to its very end. When everything has been cleared, admire the work that you have done, both internally and externally.
Finally, the key to keep in mind throughout the ritual is to BE PRESENT IN EACH AND EVERY MOMENT. Each detail and sensation, however ordinary, should be consciously observed with appreciation. If you can incorporate this into your daily morning routine, I can guarantee that you will tackle the rest of your day with less stress and increased mental energy!