Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Elegant living

Matthieu Ricard
Wikimedia Commons
Tea can offer us an entry to an elegant life. A great deal of satisfaction can be derived for knowing that we are taking a moment for ourselves when we drink tea. That's because when we do, it's an opportunity to slow down life's tempo, drop those shoulders and just have a tea-moment.

I sometimes find living elegantly is living like a monk. Chinese monks practice being connected to the present while performing their daily chores like sweeping the floor, fetching water or eating. The point is, being present, is not a separate compartment in their lives. There is such simplicity, beauty and elegance in this manner of living. Just check out Matthieu Ricard's (right) recently declared by scientists as the happiest man they have ever tested.

However, it's not always easy in the "non-monk" lives that we lead. Although living in the present does not have to mean leaving everything behind and mediate (at least, not for everyone). It's not just about feeling good and relaxed when the stars are aligned. The challenge is finding the calm in the storm. For instance, as a mummy of two little boys, I would like to be able to stay focus while helping my eldest (Max) puts on his gloves as my youngest (Dorian) is turning the drinking cup upside down.

Having a tea-moment can be an occasion to practice being in-the-moment. The whole process does not even have to last for more than ten minutes, it can start from deciding on the types of tea to the actual drinking. So here is how it can go...

  • Tune in to what you would like to drink
  • Listen to the crisp-and-crunch of the tea leaves as they are being scooped 
  • Hear the water dance as it boils
  • Observe the flow of water as it's being poured 
  • Sit and wait while the tea is being steeped 
  • Inhale the aroma as you take a sip  
  • Experience the sensation of the liquid in your mouth before you swallow

You might be surprised at just how often the mind wanders off in less than 10 minutes. However, it's not about being "empty", it's about respecting the flow of the mind and gently guiding it back to the present. What you get out of this on a good day is a calmer state of mind while you enjoy your tea. On an average day, you still get to drink that cup of tea. It's a win-win or win situation, either way!

1 comment:

  1. Admiring your page and what you wrote re Elegant Living. I can so relate. Thank you! ... Please, keep it up.