Meditation can take on many different forms. It does not necessarily require you to sit in lotus position, chanting mantras for six hours day, but this is an option if you so desire. Meditation is what you make it to be & it’s a personal choice. Go with what works best for you. The aim simply is to relax your mind & bring conscious awareness to your being.
Back when I was working full time the only way I got my ten minute snippets of mind stillness was during my morning/afternoon walk to the station & funnily enough sat on the train. Yes meditation can be moving & open eyed. Or again it can be still, eyes closed & in solitude. The goal is to bring your focus within, still the mind & connect with your heart (or Soul). I admit my original way did not bring as deeper connection as it does now with the latter method. There is a lot of distractions when meditating in public, even plugged into an iPod! Better than nothing though.
A few months ago I was having a lovely chat with a friend about a totally different process of meditation, the ritual of making a cup of tea. Sounds totally bonkers right? But no wait hear me out. A meditation practice is about being consciously aware. It does not matter what you are actually physically doing. As long as you are conscious of your actions & aware of every little thing you do. Taking you out of your busy head & bring you into inner peace.
Here’s how the tea comes in.
Every morning the first thing I do is make a cup of my favourite Yorkshire tea. Before anything else tea comes first. Upon rising my mind is still & body refreshed from sleep. This is the best time for a meditative ritual as the busy thoughts have yet to start processing.
It’s quite easy to do a tea making meditation. Firstly it’s important to pay close attention to every part of the process. Don’t just fumble round the kitchen grabbing the first cup you find & mindlessly fill the kettle.
Here, I’ll walk you through the process I use.
- Come to place of stillness in your kitchen ready to start. Take a few deep; long, slow breathes right into your belly. You may close your eyes if you wish.
- Once you feel centred move your focus to the kettle. If it needs filling with water move slowly to grasp the handle staying very conscious of every move you make. Note how the kettle feels in your hand. Is it cold, smooth; does the kettle feel heavy to lift? Carefully fill the kettle. Listen to the noise of the water rushing hitting the metal sides, the swooshing from the tap and maybe the gentle bang from the pipes.
- Return the kettle to its stand or the stovetop & turn it on to boil. Stand back & note how the kettle comes to life. Watch the light flick on, the noise of the element clicking in or the gas flames hissing.
- Whilst the kettle is boiling take your time selecting a cup & teapot if you use one. If you usually just grab the first clean cup you come across, stop & pay attention to all the cups on the shelf. Examine their sizes, colours, patterns, material and shapes & notice the sounds they make when they chink together. Really see & feel what is in front of you. (It’s surprising what you find lurking in the cupboard when you really look, you may unearth an old favourite)
- Now for the tea! Take your time selecting which tea you would like to start your day with. Let you gaze linger over the boxes or caddies, pick them up, read the label, note the design & colours. Which is singing out to you today? It might not even be tea at all, hot water & lemon is always a good start. If so carefully select a lemon to cut up, avoid just grabbing the first one you lay your hand on. Hold the lemon, feel the texture of its skin, the vibrancy of the colour, its shape & size.
- With the same conscious awareness place you tea in your selected cup or teapot. Pay attention to how the bag feels in your fingers; look at the shape & the colour of the leaves inside. If you use loose leaf, measure out the scoop & carefully place it in the diffuser. Keep breathing deeply allowing the aroma of the tea to fill your nostrils.
- Bring your awareness to your ears. Listen to the sounds all around you, the clink of the teaspoons, the boiling of the kettle, and any outside noises from nature. How are you feeling right now? Take note of your state of being, how relaxed you are & aware of your whole body & connected to your senses. Tune into any messages that come through from your inner knowing. Now is the perfect time to receive some wisdom. Quietly ask your heart “is there anything I need to know for today please?”
- Once the water has boiled very carefully & slowly pour the water over your tea or lemon. Being completely aware of the sounds & smells all around you. Feel the heat from the steam warm your hand. Look at the colour of the water change as the tea steeps & infusers. Take a few very deep breaths & really be apart of the process as your tea is brewing.
- Here’s the best bit, the drinking! Sit in your favourite chair or spot outside. Hold your teacup between both hands, feel the heat warm your palms. Get totally involved by bringing the cup to your nose breathing deeply the scent, feel the steam waft over your face. Now drink. Savouring the flavour, the heat in your mouth and the warm glow in your stomach. Give gratitude for receiving such a sacred experience & the nourishment to not only your body but also your Soul.
Give this tea meditation a try & see how being fully conscious in the process heightens your awareness & connection to your Soul. Let me know how you get on in the comments below.