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Joining the World’s Most-Shared Meditation

Practicing the simple art of tea


Illustration Credit: Titmouse Tea by Vivienne Strauss

I remember hiking on cold nights over endless sand dunes in the Sahara Desert until finally the nomad guide stops, throws a rug on the sand, and prepares to heat water. Minutes before, we were intent, purposeful, slogging off the miles. Now, the bells on the necks of animals and the swooshing of pants and bags have ceased, and we hear only our breaths and the kettle. As the bubbles rise to the surface, the guide grabs a pouch of tea leaves from his side bag, and we enter a time of calm.My journeys in and out of slums and villages and cultures around the world have been filled with excitement and difference, but there is this quiet through line: tea. Cups, mugs, glasses, pitchers, thermoses, and just about any other vessel have been handed to me, and it always slows me down.I often think of my friend who gave up alcoholism for the art of tea, as well as my own struggles with ADD, and I have come to understand tea as a meditation rather than as a beverage. I don’t need a yoga mat or a Vipassana center. I have learned that when a moment gets too intense—or even when it doesn’t—I should begin to brew water …

This entry is tagged with:
TeaTeatimeMeditationWorld CulturesTraditional Medicine

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