Tea is a clear and comforting beverage. Because it’s so light, you have to actually focus on what you’re drinking to get the most out of it. When you’re learning to savor everyday moments, drinking tea is a great teacher.
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh offers powerful, inspiring messages on how, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment. This thought-provoking take on the simplicity of tea, and how it relates to the practice in mindfulness, is worth reading.
When I drink tea, there is only me, and the tea.
The rest of the world dissolves. There are no worries about the future. No dwelling on past mistakes. Tea is simple: Loose-leaf tea, hot pure water, a cup. I inhale the scent, tiny delicate pieces of the tea floating above the cup. I drink the tea, the essence of the leaves becoming a part of me. I am informed by the tea, changed. This is the act of life, in one pure moment, and in this act the truth of the world suddenly becomes revealed; all the complexity, pain, drama of life is a pretense, invented in our minds for no good purpose. There is only the tea, and me, converging.
Life is like tea.
You must be completely awake in the present to enjoy the tea. Only in the awareness of the present, can your hands feel the pleasant warmth of the cup. Only in the present, can you savor the aroma, taste the sweetness, appreciate the delicacy. If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea. You will look down at the cup, and the tea will be gone.
Life is like that. If you are not fully present, you will look around and it will be gone. You will have missed the feel, the aroma, the delicacy and beauty of life. It will seem to be speeding past you.
The past is finished.
Learn from it and let it go. The future is not even here yet. Plan for it, but do not waste your time worrying about it. Worrying is worthless. When you stop ruminating about what has already happened, when you stop worrying about what might never happen, then you will be in the present moment. Then you will begin to experience joy in life.
Read more by Thich Nhat Hanh at Plum Village.