How to drink a cup of meditative tea
We generally think of meditation in rather narrow terms. The mental image that usually comes to mind is a person sitting cross legged on the floor with their eyes closed and their hands in a meditative pose. The truth is, any practice can be meditative if it is done with the correct intention. Meditation in its purest form refers to one-pointed focus. From this point of view, any activity can meditative if it’s done in a way that it becomes our sole area of focus at one time. In this sense, our whole life is capable of being a living and breathing mediation.
We generally rush through our days, but in fact our most mundane daily activities can be meditative and bring peace into our lives. Making a cup of tea for example, can be a spiritual practice if you are in fact present for each step of its preparation. Here’s how:
Take a deep breath and close your eyes as you stand in front of the kettle. Soften your facial muscles and put a gentle smile on your face as you slowly extend your arm out and grab the handle. Notice the feel of the handle, what is made of and its texture as it makes contact with your skin. Lift the kettle and slowly walk over to the basin to fill the kettle with water. Notice the sound of the water as it comes out of the tap and feel the freshness of the stream on your hand. Move the kettle under the tap and watch with attention until you have filled the kettle just enough to make one cup of tea. Close the tap and place the kettle back on the element. Click the on switch.
Now focus your point of vision onto the kettle. Slow your breath, drawing it deeply into the belly as you watch the water gradually come to the boil. When your mind wonders to other thoughts or if any emotions pop up, just observe them and let go, bringing your attention back to the present moment. All that is here right now is you, and the kettle, and the water inside it gently coming to a boil.
Watch the heat rise and notice the steam begin to release out of the spout. Take note of the sound as the water begins to move faster and faster as it boils more vigorously. Click. It is done. Place the tea bag in the cup and slowly lift the kettle again, pouring the water over the tea bag. Replace the kettle on the element and stand for a moment, watching as the water begins to change to color. Slowly lift your spoon and smoothly stir the tea first clockwise and then anti-clockwise. Repeat this motion 20 times counting silently in your mind. Every time you stir in one direction breathe in, and as your change direction breathe out. Watch as the water darkens.
When you have completed your 20 repetitions, slowly lift the tea bag out of the cup. Now pick up the cup and feel the heat of the ceramic on your hands. Take a deep sniff and let the aroma of the tea fill your nostrils. Add milk and sugar if you take any, and then find a quiet spot to sit and drink your tea. Take a deep breath before taking your first sip, being grateful for the nourishment that is about to enter your body. Take a sip and feel the warm tea swirl around you mouth and move down your throat into your belly. Take a deep breath in between every sip.
And that’s how simple it is to enjoy a cup of meditative tea.