Winter has set in here in the Southern hemisphere. Although the part of South Africa where I live is blessed with sunny winters – the mornings, late afternoon and evenings are still chilly by our standards. For comfort, I light candles in the afternoon, burn warm cinnamon scents in my oil burner and of course drink hot cups of tea more frequently throughout the day.
Over the years, having a cup of tea has become a part of my spiritual practice. I love the variety, exotic aromas and adventure that every new flavour and type of tea brings. I love that it can be healing, soothing or energising depending on what you need. But most importantly, it offers me an opportunity to be present and mindful.
Fellow tea essayist, Frank Hadley Murphy, described the ceremony of drinking tea beautifully when he said that: “We make tea in an empty vessel and then we become a vessel to receive it. The practice of maintaining this emptiness runs through all the world’s mystical traditions.”
Zen philosophy uses the empty bowl in a similar analogy. In Zen, the empty bowl is a powerful symbol used to describe the state of emptying yourself and your mind of the things that present barriers to your connection with your inner world and Divine Spirit.
Adopting this idea has thus allowed each cup of tea to become a form of meditation. To allow spirit to flow through you, one must first become empty by releasing all preconceived ideas, thoughts and charged emotions. Each time I prepare to do a reading, healing session or meditate I allow myself to become empty. Whenever I have a cuppa I am reminded of that. Bringing meaning to ordinary activities in my day has a lovely way of grounding me in the present. It helps to take me away from busy thoughts or activities and to just shift my consciousness back into a soulful state of peace and love.