Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. The experience of tea, is vastly different according to the place and style of consumption. Although all tea comes more or less from the same plant (Camellia Sinesis), there are so many different types; green, white, black, red, and puerh, just to name a few.
For me personally, my relationship to tea changed dramatically one day in 2015 in Gozo. I was introduced to the tea ceremony experience. As soon as I drank my first couple of bowls of tea, I was transported. Transported internally; it was as though I was walking through an ancient forest. The tastes, the smells, the feeling in my heart. Actually my whole state of being was elevated…as though I was in a very deep meditation. I had done enough meditation, to recognize the experience. A temporary elevation of consciousness that lifts you up out of your mundane everyday thoughts, and places you in a new world. A world where you feel a deep peace, where you look at things in your life with a new found clarity, and where your experience of the world is more beautiful than it has ever been.
Ever since those first few tea ceremonies, my relationship to tea and the ceremony have deepened. I have fallen deeper and deeper in love with it as a practice for a few reasons.
Tea as teacher
The best kind of learning doesn’t come from books, or research…it comes from our own inner experience, especially when it comes to our inner world. Tea ceremony is so beautiful in this sense because the ceremony itself brings you into the present moment, while the tea itself actually calms the body and mind to make it easier for you to stay in the moment. When the mind calms and we feel that we are enjoying ourselves in the moment, we are actually entering into a holographic state of mind. In that state we are super receptive to the innate wisdom that is transmitted to nature and that we realize is there lying within us.
Tea as mother
Mother is the emblem of unconditional love. As humans there are so many things we experience in life that cause us to feel neglected, unloved or betrayed. These experiences can weigh us down and make our experience of the world feel cold and hard. Whenever we go within into the core of ourselves, we can find that there is a part of ourselves that is not touched by that pain. That is our soul. Any experiences which connect us to that part of ourselves, heal the pain of our traumas. We experience that despite everything we have been through we are still worthy of love. We are children of nature and spiritually, nature as our mother will always be ready to gift us with her unconditional love. Sadly we usually don’t take the time to turn our face towards our nature. Tea ceremony for me, is one of the most effective tools to support us in experiencing spiritual connection and all the healing touches that come with it.
Tea as ceremony
The ceremony itself is beautiful and the information about it could fill a whole book. Everything in the ceremony is symbolic but its real power lies in how conducting the ceremony (whether as host or guest), actually brings us into experience its own qualities. We move slower, more mindfully, we keep ourselves present, and the more we experience these qualities in the ceremony, the more we bring these qualities out of the ceremony and into the world as a part of who we are.
Tea as medicine
Builders tea and ceremonial tea or ‘living tea’ are as different from each other as wine is to water. Tea used for ceremony should ideally be seed grown, in their native environment, free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides or weed-killers. This tea is a profound medicine for the body. It is full of anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, and is linked to a lower risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It increases energy and clarity while calming the mind, and may be effective in reducing post-stress cortisol levels, improving memory and concentration, slowing ageing and boosting metabolism. It is also an excellent source of vitamin C, strengthening your immune system and protecting the bones, teeth, and tissues in the body.
The qualities of Tea bring us to our natural state of being. From here we are able to change our relationship with our experiences and reflect, heal and navigate life with greater clarity aligned with our true purpose. This allows us to cultivate greater emotional intelligence and self-awareness to manage stress, anxiety and other common pressures better.
Tea makes us realise that ultimately, everything is connected. We are nature and it is the separation that causes suffering. When we begin to heal that separation, things come together again in harmony.
Tea ceremony has been one of our treasured tools that we recommend to anyone interested in deepening their sense of physical well being and discovering new ways to deal with mental and emotional stress.
In a world full of time pressures and over stimulation, tea ceremony is a beautiful way to go within and connect with the parts of ourselves that elicit peace. The parts of ourselves that are grateful, content and in harmony with the outer world. Nowadays this has become a treasured gift we can give ourselves