For thousands of years, tea was an integral part of our daily lives - from providing comfort on cold winter days to physical healing and a weight-loss hack. But does tea goes along with spiritual and mindful intentions? Can a simple act of tea drinking become your gateway to spirituality? Let’s see what history says, how different cultures used tea, and how spirituality intercrossed with tea drinking throughout time. We’ll also share some tips and ideas on how to create your own tea drinking ritual!
What Does History Say?
The earliest records take us to the origins of the tea plant Camellia Sinensis, situated between India, Tibet, China, and Burma. Tea drinking itself is believed to have started as a medicinal drink. Some of the most credible sources point to medical texts written by Hua Tuo in the 3rd century AD.Later, tea was introduced to the western world, thanks to Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the early 16th century.
But if you want to understand tea drinking, and its significance in people’s lives, then cultural exploration is a must.
Spiritual Role of Tea in Different Cultures
Let’s focus on cultures that reside around the areas where tea was discovered and use it to see how people created their own meaning in a ritual that is simple tea drinking for some.
Since its discovery, tea has been slowly gaining popularity across China. However, the significant change in drinking habits came in late medieval China, where Buddhist monks were responsible for changing people’s attitudes towards intoxicants and making tea drinking more popular.
While Monks have long interacted with tea in southern China and spread its popularity through their travels, it was not until Lu Yu wrote the legendary “Chajing” or “Tea Classic,” the first known monograph on tea!
Tea became important in maintaining a long period of meditation; it also inspired poets and greatly influenced how ideas were exchanged. Until the eighth century, aristocratic drinking parties did not allow monks to participate in elite culture. However, monks and writers were able to meet at the same cup of tea and share the same aesthetic values.
In addition,rituals associated with the drinking of tea were created in the Chan monasteries to help transform China’s sacred landscape into a popular and elite level.
The tea-drinking ceremony in Japan is said to have originated from the religious practice of the Buddhist Zenect, where certain worshipers gathered and drank tea in front of the image of the Buddha.
Although tea has meditative significance, many scholars argue that it has importance in examining the concept of purity. For the first time in the 14th century, priest Murata Shuko claimed that there were four values in the concept of tea ritual: respect, reverence, purity, and peace. The tea used in a ritual is of great importance for purification as it is associated with physical and spiritual purity suitable for those approaching holy places.
The tea bowl used in the Japanese tea ritual is an essential and famous vessel. Examining the scale of the tea ceremony, it is said that the bowl used in the Japanese tea ritual is an important element in the union of space.
Myanmar’s fermented tea leaf is a common and national antique food eaten by all the people of the country, regardless of race or religion, during gatherings at family homes, monasteries, and traditional festivities. This indicates the importance of tea and how it brings everyone together despite differences.
In addition to drinking tea, fermented marinated tea, called laphet, is another tea leaf commonly eaten in Myanmar.
Tea leaf plants are grown in the mountainous regions of Myanmar, which have the right climate, enough moisture, enough sunlight, and fertile soil. The common name for laphet probably comes from the name of each region, such as moe-goke laphet and pa-laung laphet.
Mindfulness in Tea Drinking
In this day and age, all the distractions seem to lead our senses away from ourselves, giving less focus on inner growth and self-care. And even drinking tea has become an unconscious process, accompanied by social media, tv watching, corporate conversation, or other forms of distraction.
Tea drinking can infuse plenty of mindfulness into your life by bringing ease and comfort if you do it right. Like meditation, tea can purify the spirit, lower anxiety, and work your inner-self, emotionally and physically.
If we choose to listen, the practice of meditative tea drinking will tune you into the meaningful dialogue between you and your inner self. The simplicity of the act inspires inner harmony and allows you to drift into calmness, reaching a conscious balance between yourself and the universe.
So, by partaking in tea, you can begin to contemplate the deeper meaning of life, turning ordinary and mundane into something beautiful and meaningful.
But even with all that said, tea drinking can still be just a quick and ordinary act unless you set aside a little personal time and create your own tea drinking ritual!
Extra Tip: Use Looseleaf Tea
Swap teabags for looseleaf tea if you really want to go mindful with tea! With loose leaf tea, you’ll have a chance to appreciate the fine details of tea, engage with all your sense and have a more dedicated ritual.
Making loose leaf tea also requires a couple of extra minutes, which makes a perfect opportunity to slow down, be in the present moment and enjoy the process.
And what if you could easily combine crystals and their energy with your tea drinking affair? Crystals can bring an extra touch of mindfulness and cloak your tea drinking time with a warm spiritual blanket to enhance calmness, balance, and restoration.
Now, let’s create an awesome tea drinking ritual!
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Tips For Creating Your Tea Drinking Ritual
Reflect on your reality and pause by creating a mindful and dreamy tea-drinking ritual with these tips::
- Set aside a dedicated time in the day for mindful tea drinking.
- Place loose leaf tea in your favorite teapot or tea filter.
- Smell and feel the wonderful aroma of your tea.
- Listen to water being poured over the leaves.
- Watch the water change color and the steam rise.
- Think about the leaves being handpicked from organic tea farms around the world and form gratitude and appreciation.
- Take a deep breath, and exhale, letting go of any negativity, stress and tension.
- With each sip, try to feel the warmth of your tea move from your mouth to your stomach, then flow through your whole body.
- Savor each moment, appreciating calmness and tea’s rich flavor and aroma.
- Pay attention to what feelings this ritual evoke in you.
By reflecting on the cup of tea, you can also become conscious of all things that create a harmonious process to bring your tea drinking ritual to life - think of the tea farmers, the tea leaves, the sunshine, the rain, where the tea came from, the world….and so on infinitely.
Create your tea ritual as a gesture of self-care, which will help carry feelings of inner peace and well-being into your day-to-day life. Do you drink tea often? What’s your favorite tea? Share any tea-related details in the comment section; we would love to hear from you!