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In this article, Tea Master Gaurav Saria shares his reflections on mindfulness, happiness, and meditation in present times; and the all-encompassing role of Tea.
Minimalism. Reflection. Slowing down. Constantly evaluating and re-evaluating goals and intent. Far from expressions of leisure and luxury, these have now become essentials in a seemingly madding, modern life. Where meditation becomes perhaps our most powerful ally in achieving a state of inner equilibrium.
Step out for a relaxing stroll and one cannot help but notice the volume of information our vicinities throw up. Be it the attention-seeking billboards, road median posters, public transport wrapped in advertisements, pop-out blurbs in supermarket aisles, or even digital marquees on store façades. And then, there’s the incessant inflow of emails, notifications and alerts. No matter where we are, we find ourselves in environs that constantly demand our attention; where paying heed even momentarily makes us consume a lot of unwarranted information. How do we avoid this from weighing down our senses – our stream of consciousness? I’d like to propose an idea: make Tea.
As simple as it may sound, the act of making tea can be wonderfully calming and rewarding. When approached with reverence, befitting of a tea ceremony, it can be as fruitful as hours of silent meditation. As you focus on the tea and on yourself – on every breath, movement, and sip – you dwell in a state of heightened awareness. Where you truly live in the moment and enjoy the brook-like sounds of water being poured into and from the teapot, the clink of cups and saucers, the chink of the tea spoon hitting the tea caddy, and countless other sounds. The mind turns serene and is simultaneously prepared for sharper perception.
I see a lot of young people today make it a point to live in the moment and enjoy their lives. A generation used to everything on-demand, they believe in the power of Now. They are in no hurry to settle down and under the weight of housing and car loans. What they seek instead is to collect experiences – to explore the world and even stand up for causes they believe in. This is seen in the choices they make. This is the generation driving the demand for cleaner and more sustainable corporate practices. They realise that Happiness is not an end product but an entire eco-system. Defined by companies where the people who work understand what they are doing and why. Where the feel-good energy on the work floor flows through entire processes; culminating in a rewarding consumer experience.
And when this practice is repeated, day in and day out, it becomes meditative for all. Where both employees and consumers stay happy, healthy, and cared-for. This is the norm that we follow at infinitea. Right from the mindful harvesting of tea leaves in our gardens to getting them delivered to your doorstep.
Tea is one of the lightest and most calming beverages. Having grown up surrounded by freshly harvested tea and crisp mountain air, allow me to share the various instances of time-travel and teleportation I experience when I brew and sip on select teas. All, that beautifully invoke a sense of calm and tranquility.
I must start with the Darjeeling, of course. The mere thought of the unending tea plantations, some of which are at an elevation higher than 7,000 feet, set against the majestic Himalayas, with the pristine pollution-free air, instantly calms me down. It is here where the world’s best tea hails from – the Muscatel Second Flush; a tea so delicate and flavourful that it is considered a gift from God. People like me, who have lived in the area, are then instantly transported to the estate. Where the senses of sight and smell reminisce the local treats that complement the brew.
The Egyptian Chamomile is an equally astounding tea. This tea turns the clock back for me, transporting me to one of the oldest civilizations of the world – to the land of Egypt where the best quality crop of the herb hails from. For millennia now, people of this region have been consuming the Chamomile for its calming effect. Its luscious honey gold colour and inherent flavour of sun-kissed apples are enough to both indulge and calm even the most stressed pharaohs among us ;-)
Matcha always takes me right to the heart of the Japanese tea ceremony. Japanese tea drinkers have been using this world-famous tea for centuries for ceremonial occasions and to calm themselves down. Fascinatingly though, when had in slightly larger doses, Matcha can serve as a pre-workout drink owing to the caffeine content present.
And to go by sight, there is no match for the Clitoria Ternatea better known as Blue Tea. Visually stunning and in a rich blue colour, on adding a few drops of lemon, this tea turns a brilliant purple.
It is true that I have spent almost all of my life immersed in the world of teas. Yet I find myself experience till today all the small joys that Tea has to offer. Tea is not just a beverage. Like meditation, it is a powerful tool that helps me stay mindful of my surroundings and life. Staying in the heart of the city, I do not have to escape to the mountains to find my moment of peace and quiet. It’s all here, in my cup of tea.
With that, I’d like to leave you all with a quote that I often reflect on.
“Tea… is a religion of the art of life.”
– Kakuzo Okakura, The Book of Tea
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