Zen Habits – Tea Rituals for Focus, Health & Slowness

Tea can be a form of meditation, an alternative way to stay present in the moment and practice mindfulness. It’s also a path to slowness and a much too rare opportunity to savor life.
Tea also offers a path to focus. Just the act of pausing to brew a pot of tea can be the perfect time to let go of that frustrating project and regain clarity and focus.

The Focus Ritual

Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits finds that brewing tea before getting started on an important project serves as a focusing ritual. It serves as a signal to stop with all the distractions and prepare what you need to sit down and focus on the project at hand.

Be present in the preparation of the tea, heating the water, preparing the tea, and selecting the teapot or teacup. Clear away anything that isn’t necessary to accomplish your project to eliminate any distractions. Sip the tea, enjoy its taste, take a deep breath and begin your project. Each time you sip your tea, repeat the steps, maintaining your focus on the present moment.

The Slowness Ritual

Most of us are used to rushing through a day trying to get an unwieldy list of things done. Tea can be a perfect opportunity to help you slow down, and return to the natural rhythm of life.

Find a time each day when you can pause and make a cup of tea. As the water is heating, take a moment to enjoy the sight of the tea leaves and inhale the aromatic fragrance of the tea. As the tea is steeping, focus on your breathing, much like a short meditation and part of the ritual of slowness. As you pour the tea into a cup, savor the color, the texture and the aroma.

As you take your first sip, the world in all its rush and responsibilities fades into the background and the taste of the tea with its comforting sensations take precedence. The moment is entirely encompassed in the cup of tea, enjoying the stillness.

The Health Ritual

Tea is a signal for slowness and focus that is perfect in the middle of the day. It’s also a way to satisfy little hunger cravings that trigger unhealthy snacking. Try new blends to keep the practice from becoming too familiar where you can’t savor the art of focus and slowness. While enjoying your next cup of tea, take yourself to the place where the inviting flavors began their journey in the earth, thousands of miles away, in a country that has been doing this for a century or two and just enjoy the moment.

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