Why tea is useful for introspection
To begin this blog post, I first examined the meaning of the word ‘meditation’ as this was the term I was planning to use instead of introspection. A word derived from a verb meditari, meaning "to think, contemplate, devise, ponder", it seemed perfect for expressing the process of creating the time and space to observe our internal world of thoughts and feelings.
But many seasoned ‘meditators’ would say that Meditation is a word that has come to be used too loosely and inaccurately in the modern world. An article I was recently reading from the yoga international website said “Meditation is a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state. It is the means for fathoming all the levels of ourselves and finally experiencing the centre of consciousness within”.
For many of us, we don’t really know what that even means and have certainly never experienced this ‘state’. As a practice designed to help us control our mind, finding inner stillness for most of us, can seem like an impossible dream. The mind is undisciplined and unruly, and it resists guidance at every turn!
From my experience, most of the people I meet have already decided they just can’t meditate, and I have realised that this is because to say one ‘meditates’ suggests the ability to DROP into the state, described in the article above, quite naturally. Unfortunately, as a word, ‘meditation’ seems to have become synonymous with the end product of years of practice, rather than reflecting the process.
So for this post, I am using the word ‘introspection’ to echo the slow development of some level of awareness as to what is going on for each of us. At this point, let us shift our expectations to be more realistic, let’s add an enjoyable edge to this practice, as being able to hear your inner voice to a growing extent and act accordingly, is a perfect tool for helping us find a little more peace and awareness in a pretty chaotic world, i.e. essential!
So let’s ring the bells and shout in jubilation as we bring in the Tea! Not just as a way to lighten the somber vibe that descends when I mention ‘meditation’, but because, as it turns out, Tea is inherently helpful in doing most of this hard introspective work for us….great news.
First harvested in temples by the monks, Chinese tea was drunk not just as a healing medicine to keep the body strong and agile, but for developing deeper self-awareness when in meditative practice. The science is now supporting what the monks knew all those years ago, when we harness the tea’s unique nutrients, it positively alters our brain chemistry, increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, sinking us quite naturally into a place of ‘calm wakefulness’, the bullseye state for any introspective work.
This specific altering of our brain chemistry has an additional effect of actively synchronising our two cerebral hemispheres, left and right, allowing our intuition and inner guidance to flow unimpeded into conscious awareness. We just need to be responsive to what comes up and that is where cultivating awareness comes in.
While you can obviously accomplish a state of quiet contemplation without tea, drinking it as part of this ritual will certainly aid you in your quest for a calmer, more centred way of being, helping you tap more clearly into your hidden emotional world.
Because of this amazing effect, Tea drinking can be a great precursor to any healing work, whether yoga, sound, massage, reiki or talk therapy, with its secret ingredients placing you in the most receptive state to heal and thrive.
But the Tea Plant itself happily offer its own unique healing work. For each of the 5 epic teas offers its own guided journey to listen to after you have enjoyed drinking a cup of tea brewed from its particular leaves. From our experience of running the tea circles where we integrate this work, the feedback is always how easy these journeys make it to relax, find a precious moment of peace and notice your thoughts, so easy you might want to repeat the experience over and over again :)
So as we enter the new year of 2020, why not live in this moment, with a centred heart and a deep out-breath and know that the tea is always there to support you, keep you calm and ‘meditated’!
To experience the magic, why not organise a group for a tea circle experience or contact us for information on ‘tea’cher training.