Heard about tea meditation? It sounds interesting? Yes, you said it right! Tea meditation is a moving meditation that is super calming and interesting. If you ask me which the best meditation for a lazy bum is, undoubtedly I would suggest Tea Meditation. What makes tea meditation super relaxing is that it is a perfect complement to any other meditation practice where you find it difficult to wake up early. The caffeine in tea will help you to stay fresh and energetic, which itself is a beautiful practice to begin your day. Let’s explore more on Tea meditation here.
The very beginning
China is the origin of tea and the Chinese have enjoyed tea for millennia. Many hailed the brew as a cure for many ailments, the perfect drink for calmness and thus tea became the ‘national drink’ of China. Years later yea came to Japan through Zen monks and became an important part of Japanese culture. In order to stay awake during meditation, Japanese Zen monks used tea. What attracted them in tea is its calming qualities and everyday drinking nature of tea.
Zen Monks and Tea Meditation
Tea is considered as the simple path of devotion that carries life. As the popular quote says ‘The taste of Tea and Zen are one.’ Zen monk practices drinking tea with the whole mind and heart which is as equal to the time spent for meditation. Abiding in the present moment, tea reactivates the mind and calmly learns to accept things. They develop a connection between tea and self, understanding that there really are no lines between them. To achieve enlightenment, monks relied on tea for relaxing and restore inner peace when lost in meditation. Thus tea became an important part of Japanese culture and the evolution of Tea Ceremony.
There is an anecdote that is believed to be the milestone in the establishment of the idea of oneness of tea and zen. Once a monk visited a Zen practitioner in Zhaozhou Prefectur. His first question to the monk was ‘Have you been here before?’. The monk answered ‘Yes, I have been here once’. The practitioner replied ‘Go have some tea’. The next day he had another visitor and he asked him the same question. But the reply was different this time ‘I had never been here, it’s my first visit’, he replied. But the host replied the same’ Go have some tea’. Observing the practitioner’s reply, his servant out of curiosity asked him why he is giving them the same reply regardless of others’ answers? The host replied ‘Go and have some tea’. The story here establishes the idea of oneness -the former does share something in common with the latter.
How to brew tea and find calm?
Based on the step once laid out Sen no Rikyu the following are the way of brewing and drinking tea while practicing mindfulness and meditation.
Make sure that your mind is clear from thoughts. It can make you enjoy tea in a better way. Think you’re using this time only for you and tea and nothing else matters.
After preparing the tea, make sure you have a proper space to enjoy your tea. Any space can be used for this, but make sure that you dedicate it for the fullest experience. It is good to have a common space for meditation as it helps in getting enriched with the energy of meditation.
Try to bring a connection between you and tea. Imagine its origin, the mountain, the fog, the taste, etc. Take enough time to acknowledge the steps the tea took to reach you. The processing it has gone, the people involved throughout the process, etc. Don’t forget to acknowledge your hard work in bringing it to a cup of piping hot tea.
Tea has a lot to offer, the moment of culmination, the way it tastes etc. Appreciate everything the tea offers you and let it go. Each moment you have with tea is mesmerizing. The feeling which you have today while having it isn’t the same tomorrow even if you follow the same steps. The time you take for drinking it depends on how much desire you have to be in the present moment.
Drink Tea and Be Happy
Tea meditation has got plenty of health benefits for our well-being. It helps in stress reduction in each of us in different ways. The way it works on you is different from how it works for your friend or family. The practice of appreciating tea will enhance the way of gratitude which can bring in happiness. The ability to enjoy the current moment will be developed unknowingly, which can bring in calmness.
Next time you try to follow these steps for tea mediation and alter them according to your own preferences and tea habits. Don’t forget to share your experience and thoughts in the comments below.