In a world that appears to be spinning out of control, most of us are searching for ways to reduce stress and bring peace and comfort back into our lives. We might not be able to improve the problems that are wreaking havoc around the world, or prevent whatever it is that is stressing us out at this moment, but we can enjoy a practice that brings comfort, health and inspiration to many. The tea drinking ritual.
For our purposes, we will not be looking at drinking the “real” tea as made with the Camellia sinensis plant, but rather the drinking of herbals. Any edible plant or spice can be steeped in water and consumed. These are technically considered to be tisanes or infusions. Examples of infusions are peppermint, chamomile, fruit teas, buchu or lemon balm.
The goal of this ritual is to give thanks. Giving thanks provides outstanding health benefits both mentally and physically. It reminds you to focus on what is right rather than wrong in your life. Positive emotions are known to reduce stress, support health and healing, and therefore benefit you physically as well as mentally.
Find a quiet place in your home or office. If possible, sit on the floor or in a comfortable chair near a window, where you can enjoy the natural light. Remember that the art of performing a tea ritual includes the intention of slowing down and paying attention to the people, objects, and sensations in the here and now.
Put some leaves in a small teapot and steep for the desired length of time (to get the optimal flavour from your tea, you might want to experiment with the balance between the amount of tea leaves you use and the length of time you steep the leaves).
While the tea is steeping, take a moment to notice your surroundings as well as how you are feeling. Do not get caught up in ideas about your surroundings, but notice the light, the temperature, the weather, the objects in the room, etc. Also, consider your energy level and emotional outlook.
Before taking your first sip, give thanks for the quiet moment you have and for the luxury of having tea. For example “I give thanks for this tea and for these moments.”
For example, your second sip might find you saying to yourself, “I give thanks for my friend, xxxx..”
On the third sip, “I give thanks for my healthy mind.” I’m sure you can think of many things to be thankful for such as your mental or physical health, the beautiful smiles or fun antics of children, your marriage, your job, and the abundance in your life. (I often give thanks that I am well nourished—physically & emotionally while having tea, or sometimes for the love of my family and friends).
On the last sip of your tea, offer a general gesture of thanks, such as “I give thanks for the great abundance in my life.” Or simply, “Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.”
As you clean your tea ware, think of how the gesture of your tea ritual also cleaned your mind as well as your body!
Have a beautiful week of relaxed , loving moments.
Sue and Chris