It’s another gloomy day and it just started to rain again. I won’t discredit the rain. After all, us Californians sure could use as much as we can get. On a day like this, it is best to sit by a window and take some time to observe the rain. See the beauty in it. Listen to the rain drops and recognize the sounds for what they are or what they remind you of. Perhaps crack open a window and smell the rain. Notice the wet concrete and the scent in the air.
It is inevitable to hanker after a warm cup of tea on a day like this. So, I have an inspirational tea meditation today for a mindful eating exercise. Tea is wonderful to start your mornings with either prior to starting a meditation or during meditation. The little bit of caffeine in any tea helps to wake you up and allows you to be just as alert as you need to be for a morning meditation practice. However, that is not the only reason to start your mornings with a tea meditation. A simple tea meditation is a beautiful and nourishing practice which brings a greater sense of peace and helps cultivate a strong sense of gratitude.
In the East, tea fit perfectly in with the life of a Zen monk. The powerful aroma, calming qualities, and ordinary everyday nature of drinking tea made it an easy inclusion in the daily life of the Zen monk who made it their “life’s mission” to find satori (enlightenment, or sudden awakening) in the midst of typical everyday activities. Tea then naturally evolved, at least for those students of Zen, into yet another beautiful form of meditation.
Firstly, you should do everything– from each step of preparing your tea, to sitting down, to drinking your tea, to finishing, and cleaning up in mindfulness. The meditation begins when you begin to prepare the tea and ends when you have finished and cleaned up. It doesn’t matter how you choose to prepare your tea, what tea you drink, or where you drink your tea, as long as you do so carefully with a complete awareness of the present moment.
5 Simple Steps for A Tea Meditation
1. Make Your Tea and Sit with It
Give yourself completely to the entire process of preparing and drinking your tea. Slowly and mindfully make your tea, paying attention to each of the ingredients you use. Once your tea is made, find a nice quiet place for you to sit and drink it. Once you’ve sat down, take a moment before starting to “simply sit” with your tea. Notice the aroma of the tea, admire the look and color of the tea, and imagine the delicate balance that had to be kept for the tea to go from being a leaf on a tree to becoming the delightful cup of tea in front of you.
2. Be Thankful
Before you begin drinking, take a moment to give thanks for the cup of tea in front of you. Appreciate the cup of tea and everything that had to happen, and the careful balance that had to be maintained, for you to experience this amazing cup of tea. Express your gratitude for all those things which helped make your cup of tea a reality. Sit with those feelings for a minute or two before beginning.
3. Slowly Drink Your Tea
Now it’s time to drink your tea. All you have to do is drink your tea fully with mindfulness. Slowly drink by taking very small sips. You should be taking your time and really savoring every sip. Notice how the sip of warm tea feels on your lips and to your tongue. Focus on the raising of your arm, and then of the sip, swallowing, then lowering of the arms, and lastly take a few nice deep breaths before taking another sip. Repeat this process until you have finished your cup of tea and the tea meditation.
4. Be Mindful and Committed to Drinking You Tea
Be fully commit to the act of drinking your tea, whether you’re with someone else or alone. While you drink, your object of concentration can be various things. It’s ok to think about things, but don’t get into planning or strategizing. Simply observe the thought, like if you hear a bird chirping outside or car driving by. Simply acknowledge it and go back to your tea. Be fully awake for the practice of drinking your tea, understanding that this moment, and this tea, will never exist again.
5. Give Thanks After You Finish
Once you’re done, give thanks once again like you did in the beginning. It’s important to finish the practice like we started, helping put the tea, and the meditation, in perspective.
This is simple tea meditation, which can be done in as little as 10 minutes and as long as one full hour. It’s really up to you how long you want it to last. Here is a wonderful tea recipe to include in your Tea Meditation.
Cinnamon & Star Anise Tea
3 cups water
2 teaspoons anise seeds
3 inches’ cinnamon sticks
1 1⁄2 tablespoons cranberry juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 black tea bags
1⁄2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
In a small saucepan, combine all ingredients, except tea bags (include sugar if you desire more sweetness). Bring to boil.
Allow to simmer for three minutes, then strain.
Pour liquid into serving cups with one tea bag and allow to steep for three minutes or to desired strength.
Note: The scent of cinnamon and star of anise in the tea concoction will infuse not only your tea cup but your kitchen and carry you along in your tea meditation.