By Amanda Wynant, Staff Writer
Why add a tea ceremony to your meditation practice?
"Tea tempers the spirit, harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens the thought and prevents drowsiness." -Lu Yu.
Known as the sage of tea, Lu Yu was adopted by a monk who was a lover of tea. Lu Yu prepared tea every day for his father. Lu Yu grew more and more interested in the art of tea and began to research all aspects of tea. He actually secluded himself for years and studied tea intensely, ultimately writing the 8th century book called The Classic of Tea.
History of the tea ceremony
From the time of Lu Yu, to the present, tea has been a valuable part of meditation - for religious monks and common practitioners alike.
In a traditional tea ceremony, guests must first wash their hands and mouths and remove their shoes prior to entering the ceremony room. Sometimes there is a small amount of food served, then the host heats water in a kettle, over a fire. Each movement is done with intention - and all who are present should observe the ritual closely.
Once the tea is prepared, guests sip tea from a common bowl and pass it around in order. Silence is expected during the ceremony. And each sip of tea is held for 10 seconds - until the tea has completely purified the mouth. When each participant is reverently engaged in the process, the tea ceremony can bring upon an overwhelming sense of peace and intimacy in community and within the self. The ritual, that has been practiced for centuries, is still cherished by many to date.
Bringing the tea ceremony into the meditation practice
While brewing tea may seem like a tedious task to add to the practice of centering prayer, it can actually bring more of a calming presence to the form. One can bring in the ceremony during solitary meditation, or when meditating in a group. Many practitioners recommend beginning each day in silence, with 2-3 bowls of tea. Before looking at e-mail, planning out the day's schedule or connecting with anyone - it is advised to sit alone with the steaming hot water and leaves; savoring every mouthful of tea and allowing the peaceful meditation to overtake anxiety, pain, fear or worry.
Which tea is good for meditation?
While any tea you like will work to bring a peaceful practice to meditation, there are some that provide extra benefits. Our Good Morning Energy blend is perfect for morning meditation. The perfect combination of black tea, lavender, rose, bergamot and rosemary will provide an aromatic experience that will usher in positivity, peace and goodness to the day.
For an evening meditation, the Calming Rose is a good choice. Rooibos, vanilla, safflower and rose work together to create a blend that is both calming and delicious. Although the flavor is full-bodied, the Calming Rose tea contains no caffeine or other stimulants.
When clarity and cleansing is the focus of the meditation, our Pomegranate Detox offers just the right blend of oolong tea, pomegranate, yuzu berry and golden chrysanthemum to purify the body mind and soul.
So try our tea blends to bring your life into better balance. Take just one aspect of the age-old tea ceremony and incorporate it into your practice. You may find that tea has more healing properties than has ever been imagined.