Drink your Tea
Updated: Jan 30, 2022
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight
– Kahlil Gibran
We were deeply saddened to hear that Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay,) the Zen Buddhist monk, poet, peace activist and ‘father of mindfulness’ who in the 1960s came to prominence as an opponent of the Vietnam War, died on Saturday aged 95.
He was known across the globe for his influential teachings on peace and compassion and is credited in mainstream media with the legacy of bringing mindfulness to the West.
In the 1960s he met civil rights leader Martin Luther King, whom he persuaded to speak out against the Vietnam War. King lauded Thich Nhat Hanh as “an apostle of peace and non-violence” and nominated him for the Nobel peace prize.
In a great number of public appearances and a vast body of work across decades, Thich Nhat Hanh spoke in gentle yet powerful tones about the need to "walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet".
This week there have been may articles of condolence and in celebration of his life but the one that we liked best, encouraged readers rather than listing his achievements and accolades, to do something kind for someone else in his name. We think that this is a perfect fit.
We have spoken a great deal in our articles and training about the value of mindfulness and ‘presence.’
Living in the past requires us to remember events, and living in the future requires imagination. These are both a product of creative thinking and so neither really exist.
When we imagine a scary future, we experience the same stress response as if it were actually happening. When we reexperience past events we affect our body chemicals in the same way. In fact, we only remember events as we saw them through our own lens and not exactly as they happened.
Engaging in this type of thinking generates powerful emotions which, in turn, drive our behaviours. It is an unconscious process which takes up much of our energy and leads to feelings of powerlessness as we experience the same, undesired outcomes again and again.
When we practise the art of ‘presence’ we learn how to cultivate what Eckhart Tolle refers to as ‘awareness without thought’. In this state we focus deeply on the experience of everything that is in front of us right now. Because we are not consumed with thoughts about the past or future, neither of which we can affect right now, we are able to fully engage in what we are doing.
This might mean giving someone who desperately needs us our full attention, completing a piece of work to the best of our ability, cooking a sumptuous meal, tending to the plants and birds in our garden, or teaching life- changing principals whilst actually living them ourselves.
Mindfulness allows us to harvest the joys and the lessons of every day living because that is truly all that we have – and it is miraculous!
There are so many lessons and quotes to be enjoyed in the work of Thich Naht Hanh but we will share the one that is our favourite by far.
We love it because it comes with a tool – and as you know – tools are our thing!
Drink Your Tea
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.
by Thich Nhat Hahn
The next time you find yourself automatically drinking a cup of tea press pause.
Come into the present moment.
Do not drink your bills, the argument that you had this morning, your next meeting, the emails awaiting you reply, your to-do-list, your mistakes, your shortcomings or the irritation of the day…….let those things go
Taste the tea
Enjoy its flavour
Feel its warmth
Easing away any tension
You have been holding in your body
Hug the mug and let it hug you back
Breathe deeply again
Give yourself the gift of peace
In this moment
And calm your body
Your tasks will wait for you
Just for this moment
To drink your tea
For more on how to achieve mindfulness see 'How to Rise - A Complete Resilience Manual'
Comments and shares are welcome!