In the last week, I’ve been focused on drinking tea. I haven’t been drinking any more than usual, just one or two cups a day, but when I have been drinking it, I have endeavoured to be there, in the moment; experiencing the flavour, the heat of the liquid, the weight of the mug.
Being present, focusing on the sensations, and letting go of distractions.
Not worrying about a pending deadline, ruminating over what I might have done differently last week.
Not gulping. Not in a hurry to attend to the next task on the list. Holding the cup in both hands. Not mug in one hand, phone in the other, scrolling, scrolling.
Taking time to stop.
Not carting the mug from room to room, doing chores and tasks, taking a sip in between.
Drinking tea, just drinking tea, can be a wonderful experience. And of course, once you’ve mastered the art of drinking tea mindfully, you can extend this to other parts of your life. Like making the tea.
Placing the kettle beneath the tap, turning it on, waiting while it fills with water.
Water from the ground, and the sky, and from desalination plants, and has been piped to my sink.
Switching the kettle on, waiting again, as the resistance element in the base turns electrical energy into heat, and boils the water.
Electricity created through a combination of combustion of fossil fuels and generation by renewable sources, brought to my home through a series of underground wires.
Placing the tea bag, in the mug, and then pouring in the hot water.
A small paper and plastic sack containing leaves originally harvested in Kenya or Sri Lanka,
Taking a container from the fridge, adding a splash of milk to the mug, watching as the tea turns from dark brown to a lighter shade.
From cows, or in the case of my wife, ground from soy beans, hundreds of kilometres from where I stand.
Thinking about all of this, writing it down, I feel grateful.
Being mindful, and in the moment, is a choice. And I believe, if we start small, if we start with drinking tea, we can cultivate an ability to more readily shift from our thoughts, our tasks, our worries, our desires, and into the present. Into our life.
This idea for "working" on mindfully drinking tea originally came from a newsletter which I subscribe to. Sketchplanations provides beautiful sketches in a thought-provoking weekly email.