Tea is so much more than just a drink to quench one’s thirst. It is a beverage that is steeped in so much ceremony and tradition that is almost magical and overwhelming.
Making and drinking it is not something to be rushed through as if it were a race to get to the bottom of the cup. Instead, tea is something to be enjoyed, savored.
Tea’s Ceremonious History
Tea has a very long history in the world. The making of that perfect cup of tea is ceremonious in the different cultures that grace this earth. Each one slightly different from the next, but all equally as powerful and meaningful.
Throughout the world taking tea can be shown as sign of respect, to provide an apology, to express thanks, celebrate new beginnings, and for times of quiet contemplation.
Note the word, respect. The ceremony of tea is a symbol, if you will, that most cultures respect and honor above most things. Traditions for ways of properly making it and drinking it have been established for hundreds of years.
Tea has been so ingrained as a part of a good chunk of the world’s culture their lives seem to revolve around it.
America’s Tea History
The history of tea in the U.S. is still quite young considering how long it has been around. But here, in the U.S., the ceremony of tea doesn’t mean quite the same thing as in the rest of the world.
There is no tea ceremony that is strictly U.S. born. Today, tea isn’t a big part of our lives as it is in the rest of the world. Almost as if there’s nothing ceremonious about it.
Unless, of course, you bring that part of your culture with you and carry on the tradition yourself.
In general, life in the U.S. is just so fast paced it seems as if the ceremony of tea has been lost – which is truly such a shame. But, slowly and surely tea and it’s ceremonies are making its way into the lives of Americans.
It’s About Focus and Contemplation
If you talk to someone who’s culture is teeming with tea ceremony you will find them telling you that taking tea is about taking time for oneself. Taking time to focus, quiet one’s mind, reflect, rejuvenate, meditate. It’s about slowing down. It’s about creating and following a ritual (almost as old as time itself).
A concept that is lost on most Americans with their rushing around and focusing on whatever device they have in their hands. Rushing through making that cup of tea while completing a million other tasks and then drinking it down in one big gulp. No ceremony there. No focus, no mediation, no reflection.
It’s time to embrace what other cultures already know about tea. It’s time to recognize and celebrate the ceremony of it. It’s time to create your own tea ritual.
Create Your Own Tea Ritual
Start creating your tea ritual now! The next time you take your tea put all the electronics to the side – remove all the distractions. Create an environment where you can focus on making your tea.
Don’t go the short route by microwaving water and throwing in a tea bag. Tea deserves more than that kind of carelessness.
Quiet your mind and focus. Take your kettle in hand and fill it with water. Set it on the stove to heat. As you wait for the water to heat, prepare your teapot (or cup or mug).
Measure out the tea leaves taking the time to smell them. Inhale slowly. Savor the different nuances blended together to create that favorite blend of perfection. Quiet your mind.
Now pour the water over the tea leaves. Take in the released aroma of the leaves as it steeps.
Once the tea has steeped, take that first sip (not gulp). Swirl it around in your mouth, savor the different flavors of the tea. Is it floral? Spicy? Sweet? Earthy? Fruity?
As you slowly sip through your cup of tea. Keep your mind quiet from the day’s stresses. Relax and reflect. Enjoy this time of quiet and peacefulness.
That’s exactly what tea is and can be. A time in which you slow down, quiet your mind, meditate, and reflect on your life. It’s a time to relax, gain perspective and release life’s stresses.
The ritual created when one takes tea has a way of creating a oneness within one’s soul. And that is something we all desperately need.