Thursday, February 20, 2020

How To Do Your Own Tea Meditation Any Time Of Day

It's tough to find mindfulness in our busy lives. I try to set aside a few minutes for tea and quiet every day, but often there is only time for a few sips. Taking just a short few moments from the day to pause, make tea and breathe will help the day improve. Here are a few tips on how to create your own form of tea meditation no matter where you are, or what you have with you.

Tea Meditation- Stay In The Moment
First, it's important to point out that no matter what you do, staying in the moment is key. I personally look at it as a moment for myself, and nothing else. It doesn't need to be anything greater than this!

I've been slowly reading the book Every Day a Good Day by Noriko Morishita which is about the author's 25 year journey of learning chanoyu (the Japanese way of tea), and how it has shaped her life. One of the main things she learned is to always stay in the moment, and fully experience.
Morishita is constantly reminded by her sensei "When you sit in front of the kettle you have to be in front of the kettle...pour your heart and soul into each and every movement". We can bring this concept to our own tea meditation, no matter how casual. If you're having tea, even if it's just pouring hot water into a mug with a teabag, you can slow down, and be present while it steeps.

Tea Meditation- The Setup
As I mentioned before, you don't need any special tools. Whether you have a full gongfu set up or just a mug and some hot water, go with it. The main thing is to pause your day and try to focus on your moment. This isn't time to multitask, or take tasting notes. Just be with your tea!

If you can find a quiet place, great! If not, go with what you've got. Maybe you're in a cubicle in a large office or a similarly noisy environment. If you have headphones, I'd suggest using them. If not, just try to be in the moment and breathe (and try to ignore Janet from accounting).

A Sample Tea Meditation
As I mentioned, it's important to go with what you've got. Maybe you don't even have a few minutes for a full tea meditation. I often pause in the middle of a workday for just enough time to grab some hot water and steep my tea. I'll use the precious seconds while my tea is steeping to breathe, enjoy the tea's aroma, and clear my mind. Even if it's brief, give it a try.

If you can spare a few more moments, here is a sample tea meditation that you can use as a guide and tailor to you own needs. The key is to do everything mindfully. Be aware, focus, and try to clear your mind of everything else (if you can- and if you can't, just acknowledge how you are feeling).

If you have a hot water kettle, let's start there. While you are heating the water, take a listen. What do you hear around you? Can you focus on the different sounds the water makes as it starts to get warmer? Can you slow your breathing while you wait for the kettle to boil?

If you are near a window, maybe take a few moments to observe. What's the weather like? How does it make you feel? Can you hear anything outside? If you're in a crowded area, it's important to still stay in the present. Focus on where you are, and the act of making tea.

When you add your leaves (or tea bag) to your vessel, take a moment to observe. How do the leaves look? Smell? Feel? You can take your time with this, or simply give it a quick glance, whatever time allows.

Add your water to the leaves and observe with all your senses. Enjoy the aromas and warmth of the vessel. Observe the tea and how the colors and aroma change while it steeps.

When it's time to taste, observe the flavors and aromas and how they make you feel. Enjoy the warmth (or refreshing cold, if you have an icy brew). Do the flavors remind you of anything? Particular foods or past experiences?

All of this can take a few seconds, or much longer, depending on what you can spare.

Tea Meditation- Take a moment to reflect
Once I've taken a few sips, observed, and perhaps taken a few slow breaths, I like to focus a moment on gratitude for the tea. Thankfulness to all aspects of tea- from the plant, to the earth, to the people growing, plucking, processing, shipping, etc. You can of course show gratitude for whatever you like. Or don't... like I said, do whatever works for you in your tea moment.

Tea Meditation-Go Easy On Yourself
To be honest, I'm awful at meditation. I have a hard time clearing my mind and sitting still. But I find that through a tea meditation I can briefly calm my nerves, stop the world, and focus on mindfulness. I don't approach it as zen meditation or connecting with a higher universe. It's just to give time back to myself. And fully enjoy a good cup of tea. It's a time to be with yourself, and push the world out of your mind for a few moments.


  1. This is a lovely, inspiring blog post. Thanks for the gentle reminder to slow down.

  2. Love Every Day is a Good Day, the book reads like tea, if you know what I mean.