We’ve all heard about the ritual practices that surround tea drinking, which seem to arise from various cultures around the world. In England, tea time has developed into a late day meal with its own etiquette and special traditions. But tea takes on a more personal meaning in Asian cultures, where it becomes a form of meditation.
For Zen practitioners, tea rituals are an alternative way to stay “present in the moment” while practicing mindfulness; but they are also a path to focus that can help one regain clarity and mental acuity. Since these outcomes are vastly different, it helps to understand them from a Zen perspective. Below are a few ways that Zen tea rituals can help you achieve wellness and balance in your life.
Zen Health Ritual
Tea is the ideal signal to the body that it’s time to slow down and focus. It’s perfectly natural for one to slow down in the middle of the day and crave a little pick-me-up. Tea offers a way to satisfy this need without consuming sugary snacks. To keep the practice of healthy tea drinking from getting old, sample a wide variety of blends with nuanced flavors. Some avid tea drinkers will study the history of tea blends and their significance in traditional tea ceremonies while others simply take in the inviting flavors and enjoy the moment.
The Zen Focus Ritual
In the focus ritual, brewing a cup of tea can be the first step in starting an important project that requires mental clarity. It can serve as a signal to cut off all distractions and focus on the task at hand. Zen habits would also require one to be present throughout the preparation process; from heating the water and preparing the tea to choosing the right teapot or teacup. Rather than bringing a cup of tea to the work space right away, take the time to sip the tea and enjoy its taste, taking a deep breath when finished, then repeat these steps to remain focused on the present moment.
The Zen Slowness Ritual
In our fast-paced modern world it can be so difficult to slow down and just “be.” Teatime can be the perfect opportunity to help you recapture the natural rhythm of life and relax. Take a moment as the water is heating and inhale the aromatic fragrance of the tea leaves. As the tea is steeping, focus on your breathing and just be present in the moment. Look at your tea ritual as a mini-meditation in the middle of the day. Just sit back and savor the moment.
RIKYU Cast Iron Tea Pot -Bamboo
Owning a special tea pot is a great way to start your Zen tea rituals this spring. This beautiful green cast iron tea pot is a replica of the Tetsubin tea kettles first used in Japan to heat water over an open fire. Beautifully crafted and embossed with a pattern of swaying bamboo, this bright green tea pot is glazed with a glossy outer finish and a black enamel interior. It holds 45 fluid ounces and has a removable stainless steel tea strainer inside. Why not celebrate the newness of spring with this unique and colorful Japanese tea pot?