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Mindfulness and Tea

The 2020’s, so far, have indeed been wild. The most widespread symptom of these chaotic times is arguably the doom scroll, with social media feeds adorned with an enticing blend of horror and distraction. And it’s so easy to get swept up in the churn of content, with algorithms that seem know us better than we know ourselves - kinda creepy.

An antidote to this? Stop. Step outside. Take in the world around you. Whether that’s the natural, the non-human, something new or unexpected. And the perfect conduit for this reset is brewing a pot of tea.

Infusion engages the senses
Infusion is a process you can see, smell and taste.


The sensory experience of tea, should you choose to indulge in it, is layered and expansive. First is the tea itself - the sight of the dry leaves and their aroma, the way they tumble from a jar into the teapot. Followed by a wandering contemplation of the harvest: what tea is this? Where is the tea from? And where did it grow? Who picked it? Do they drink this tea as well? Maybe they’re drinking it right now, like I am. Through such a simple task we connect with the natural world and a wider scope of humanity. Already, the doom scroll unravels and rolls out of the mind and we’re left with something tangible, unifying and cleansing.

“Meanwhile, let us have a sip of tea. The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle. Let us dream of evanescence and linger in the beautiful foolishness of things.”

- Okakura Kazukou, The Book of Tea

Rituals bring a sense of routine, comfort and intention
Rituals can establish routine, bring comfort and focus our intention.

Now that the kettle’s boiled, fill your teapot and watch how the water and the leaves interact. There’s a flurry of movement as the tea dances in the heat which slowly settles, and all the while the leaves unfurl. The aroma expands and changes, filing the room. While we wait for the tea to steep, the mind continues to wander. Where is it going? Much like the tea in the pot, thoughts will rise and fall - thinking is what the mind does best, and while we might try to curb thoughts or desires, they are temporary and move through us. Mindfulness is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, for better or for worse. But it seems to me that meditation is built in to making tea. And if you’re open to it calming your mind, then it probably will. It’s an act of appreciation and patience that gives you space to think.

“We classify too much and enjoy too little.”

― Okakura Kakuzou, The Book of Tea

Once your tea is brewed, taste it. Aroma, texture, flavour, temperature - the feeling of it. What do you think? Maybe you love it. Maybe you don’t. Maybe it’s just fine, and perhaps that’s enough. Your mind is prompted to consider things it maybe hadn’t before, and that’s just as an important as the refreshment, hydration, antioxidants and everything else tea can do for us. All this has happened in a matter of minutes, if you’ve allowed it.

What has the tea done for you? It might connect you to history and culture - some styles of tea are ancient. It might change you physically - herbs and spices can invigorate the senses and clear airways. It might simply be an excuse to take some time to be alone and realign your thoughts. Or share a pot with others and reconnect with them.

Tea is a conduit for whatever you need it to be. In the few minutes it takes to make tea, a lot can happen internally - which in turn can change the way we behave externally. As simple or complex the inward journey might be, let it begin with tea.



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