Mindfulness Activity #39
Drinking Tea Mindfulness
Today’s practice is inspired by tea. If you have tea, or another hot beverage available to you, you will want to have it near you, ready to prepare. If you do not, you may substitute by watching a clip I have included below depicting a very brief version of the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
Some of the people who participate in these daily mindful practices that I write each day are residents of a Cottage called Lazarus. Good Morning folks at Lazarus! Each morning at Lazarus, the day begins with a hot beverage. For many of us, coffee or tea or hot chocolate is a mini reward for getting up and facing our day. However, we can also use our hot beverage as a mindfulness practice.
For centuries, in many cultures, tea has played an important role. In Japan, the Way of the Tea, evolved into a highly ritualized practice requiring care and attention to the act of making tea, the art of the vessels used to make the tea, and the taste, color, temperature, and smell of making matcha tea. In the mid 16th century, a shift occurred in tea ceremony. Participants were encouraged to reflect on and to find beauty in natural or imperfect forms like unrefined tea cups and vessels. This aesthetic came to be known as wabi-sabi, or the appreciation of austerity and embracing of the imperfect. How perfect for right now.
For today’s practice, you may begin by assembling what you need to prepare your beverage (for a group, you may distribute cups or have people come up and choose and prepare their beverage silently as part of the practice). Ideal would be an aromatic tea, but any hot beverage you enjoy will do.
Take a deep breath and signal the start of the practice. The instruction is to slowly prepare your beverage quietly with attention to each detail. When your beverage is ready, read the following quote by Thich Nhat Hanh and then to hold your drink and look at it, feel the temperature, smell its aroma, taste with each sip. Begin…
“Tea is an act complete in its simplicity.
When I drink tea, there is only me and the tea.
The rest of the world dissolves.
There are no worries about the future.
No dwelling on past mistakes.
Tea is simple: loose-leaf tea, hot pure water, a cup.
I inhale the scent, tiny delicate pieces of the tea floating above the cup.
I drink the tea, the essence of the leaves becoming a part of me.
I am informed by the tea, changed.
This is the act of life, in one pure moment, and in this act the truth of the world suddenly becomes revealed: all the complexity, pain, drama of life is a pretense, invented in our minds for no good purpose.
There is only the tea, and me, converging.”
Thich Nhat Hanh
Alternate link for those who are unable to access a warm beverage
Any time you need grounding, you can notice the imperfect in the world and embrace and accept it. You can use a moment with your tea to just drink your tea and to be…
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.