My personal story with a tea ceremony began 20 years ago when I was lucky to experience it for the first time. For me it was a revelation - drinking tea in a form of meditation and art! I got instantly hooked. Thanks to my new passion I’ve met a number of friends who also were into tea. What amazed me the most were their stories about how they reduced or completely gave up alcohol thanks to drinking tea in a ritualistic way. The tea room culture became my favorite spot for deep conversations, relaxed meetings and maintaining Zen-like lifestyle.
Handmade teas from the trees growing in the wild or from natural farming, processed with special care, brewed and tasted in a simple yet beautiful set and setting, offer far-reaching sensory experience with a feeling of something magical.
The highest grade leaf tea has a powerful and at the same time calming qi/chi energy and ability to help expanding your consciousness. It induces a deep meditative state and sparks off a philosophical and creative mindset, a feeling of contentment, freedom and openness to the mystical.
Mountain tribes of East Asia, Buddhist monks and Taoist have used tea for centuries for its ability to relax and stimulate mental alertness for prolonged hours as well as to lift the mood, the spirit and creativity. Because of the tea’s ability to simultaneously heighten an introspective state of mind and encourage the consciousness to move outwards, it was widely employed in meditation, social interaction, philosophical debates, creative gatherings and human bonding.
During my tea sessions we sit on the floor and drink exceptional oolong, pu-erh, white or green tea, slowly and mindfully, fully present to the smell, taste, touch, present to all we hear, all we see, feel and sense, and through this presence to the senses we stop the chatter of our busy minds, we stop thinking for a moment about the future or the past, we experience and live the actual moment, we observe and notice the beauty in the simplest things around us, fully satisfying ourselves through just being in the space in stillness, present to 'here' and 'now’.
After a few sips we begin to tap into a subtle dimension connecting with a profound energy of tea, with a spirit of the tea plant. Through the delicate sensory stimulation we feel and observe the ephemeral presence of this energy and explore our heightened perception of ourselves. This is the moment to experience a sublime bliss, the transcendental.
I often pair my tea ceremonies with a sound bath, shamanic drumming and similar practices to assist each participant in a deeper inner journey. I like combining tea in silence with a bit of guided meditation and visualizations.
Tea ceremonies perfectly serve everybody as a mindfulness practice, active meditation, alternative socializing and as an art medium.