“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
For most of us, meditation is really hard. Almost a year ago I went to a course on mindfulness meditation, learning how to sit in my own thoughts – how to let them go, how to feel the discomfort, how to recognise my endless internal monologue and self-bashing as nothing more than ‘thoughts’ and to let them be just what they are.
Meditation and I have never been comfortable with each other. I’m not good at sitting still without my mind moving in an endless labyrinth of thoughts and dragging me a long with them for the ride – but meditation doesn’t need you to sit still. During my practice I realised, anything can be meditation. Yoga can be meditation, gardening can be meditation – or dancing, or painting.
Mindfulness is very simple in practice. It’s about living in this moment. It’s about allowing yourself to embrace the good without being caught up in being afraid that soon it will be over (because it will pass, it always does in the ebb and flow of life). It’s about allowing yourself to sit in the pain and the discomfort without being afraid that the pain will last forever (because it won’t, it never does).
There is a very simple meditation that I use often in my daily life that helps me to come back to myself. Much like taking stock, being present and mindful in myself in a moment brings me feet back to the ground. This simple, quick mindfulness moving meditation is also wonderful to do with kids – Bo and I do it every day or two. We talk through it, when we do it, listening, tasting and smelling – talking about the moment we are in.
All you need to do is prepare a teapot with your favourite tea leaves (or drop a teabag into a cup) and you’re ready to go.
Tea to meditate to.
A watched pot still boils. Sit or stand and watch the water boil. Focus on your breath. Listen to the sound of the water as it starts to boil.
Pour the water over your tea leaves in your pot. Stand and watch the water as it changes colour. Focus on your breath. If (when) your mind starts to wander put your hands on the outside of the pot. Feel the warmth. Watch the water. Breathe. Enjoy the quiet.
Slowly pour the tea into your cup. Before you bring it to your lips – enjoy it with your other senses. Listen to the sound it makes as it pours into the cup, inhale the aroma, feel the warmth of the steam on your face and the warmth of the cup in your hands.
Take a sip of your tea. Taste it like you’ve never tasted tea before. Drink it slowly. Taking time to stop and sit in between. Feeling the warmth of the tea as it moves through your body. Breathing. Being present. Just here. Just now.
Tea to meditate to doesn’t have to be a long process, when Bo and I do it together we take five minutes or so in total. If nothing more it is five minutes of peace in our day and we are rewarded with a warm cup of tea.
When I do it alone I try to stretch it out longer, to fifteen or twenty minutes – just breathing and feeling the warmth.
Boil, steep, pour, sip. So simple in theory. So powerful in practice. Meditation for those of us who need a little distraction for our mind to focus on.
It takes us five minutes in our day. Will you take the time too?