Tea Meditation

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Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.—Thich Nhat Hanh

During a recent virtual retreat, one of our participants mentioned her morning tea making and sipping as a tranquility ritual and, as she described it, the above quote came to mind.

Here’s a video of Thich Nhat Hanh describing the practice to Oprah and another of his quotes:

You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea.
Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup.
Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy.
If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the
future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.
You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone. Life is like that.
If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone.
You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life.
It will seem to be speeding past you. The past is finished.
Learn from it and let it go.
The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it.
Worrying is worthless.
When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when
you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment.
Then you will begin to experience joy in life.

Tea sipping has been a daily habit of mine for years. I even travel with favorite tea bags to avoid those awkward “we only have Lipton black tea” moments and tote a tea spoon infuser with loose leaf green tea sprinkled with roses from Paris to the office.

As I sit with therapy clients, I often have a cup within reach and a few clients said they chose me as a therapist because of the mention of tea in my Psychology Today profile. There is comfort in holding the warm mug, smelling the aroma, and tasting the infusion—especially during therapy.

I often encourage holding a tea mug and savoring tea to clients in need of a comfort prop in anxiety-filled environments. It can have a calming effect, gives us something to do with our hands, and encourages slowing down.

Tea is comfort and joy all rolled into one.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s quotes remind how we can use an everyday ritual such as tea sipping to connect with the present moment. Sip tea. Slow down. Be present. Savor. This is tea. This is life. Bisous. x