“Anyone for Tea?” – Finding the sacred in everyday moments.
I have a black Japanese tea set – a small black teapot with two, matching, handle-less cups that have the smoothest of stone finishes. My delight is to slowly pour the just-boiled water from the kettle into the teapot and watch as the water comes to the brink, submerging the herbal teabag of choice into its inky well.
I place the lid on the little pot and, before leaving the tea to brew for a few minutes, wrap my hands around the pot’s warm belly – almost like an embrace of gratitude.
When the teabag has steeped for the appropriate length of time and I can smell the aroma wafting into the air, I place the teapot and one of my little black cups onto a small bamboo tray and carefully tread my way up the to the top step on the upper floor landing. This has become my little Zen zone with its bookshelf of sacred tomes and the mushrooming Jade plant that drinks in the light from the floor-to-ceiling window. Here I rest for the moment and breathe. Ahhhh….
I pour the tea into the cup; the rising steam and aroma hypnotizes and holds my attention. I then sip the warm liquid and relish its taste as the flavor hits the back of my throat.
Sitting, enthralled, on that top step I pause to rest in the rhythm of the Divine and, with teacup in hand, immerse myself into Its presence. I sigh another deep sigh of satisfaction as I peer out of the window, not looking at anything in particular yet totally transfixed by every sound and every movement this moment contains.
When all the tea has been supped, I stop and drink in the silence.
I have no idea how long that silent reverie lasts. It feels like 20 minutes but is probably less than two. Yet, after that inadvertent “tea meditation” I feel as if I’ve awoken, rested, from a good night’s sleep. Now I’m ready to be pulled back into the activities of the day that are calling for my attention and do so with a sense of poise, peace, and clarity.
So many people believe that they can’t meditate or that they don’t meditate. Yet this tea meditation is just one example of how we can bring mindfulness and stillness to any everyday moment. Dash the idea that the only way to meditate is by sitting cross-legged on a mat, chanting ‘Om’ with a perfectly controlled mind totally devoid of stray thoughts.
You probably already meditate and don’t even know it. Do you have an interest or creative hobby that totally absorbs you? When engaged in it are you so caught up in the moment, so transfixed by every nuance and by every detail that it feels as though time stands still? Then this can be the prelude to stillness and silence.
That’s because if you’re mindfully engaged in an activity, be it as simple as a tea-break on the top step gazing out of the window, gardening, dancing, or creating, it’s possible to find rich stillness in that present moment by allowing your absorption in the activity to take you out of your head and into our heart, figuratively speaking…and what’s that if not meditation? When you stop the activity and pause for a moment you can feel the stillness and “hear” the silence, without ever having put your butt on a mat.
Try it for yourself as a starting place.
The next time you’re engaged in something that you love to do, which totally absorbs your attention, add a few moments of pause at the end and before you know it you’ll be meditating.