Sipping Joy, Mindfully Appreciating a Cup of Tea
As we celebrate our 1-year Birthday of Muthaiga Tea Company today, I wanted to take a moment, to sit back and reflect on what it means to me, to take time out of my day and spend half an hour, in a tranquil space, by myself, to really appreciate the exquisite joy that Tea brings me.
This time out helps me dial back from the busyness of the day, observe the pause, and remind myself why I started on this venture of Muthaiga Tea Company and what truly gives me pleasure – drinking and appreciating gift of this incredible plant – camelia sinensis.
As many of you know, I love reading and sharing the books I read, with those close to me. I end up spending a lot of time reflecting on my chosen book and how a particular book, impacts what I am going through in life at a specific time. This month, I have been loving reading and digesting Ichigo Ichie by the author Hector Garcia. His first book, Ikigai was a major inspiration to me and why I decided to finally follow my passion and true love - Tea.
Ikigai is about discovering what you are passionate about and then taking the time out to figure out how to make your passion your life, while Ichigo Ichie focuses on the Japanese Tea Ceremony and the attention to detail that compels the Tea Master to focus on the precise moment, without any distractions, to brew the perfect tea for his eagerly awaiting guests. The concept of learning to make every moment a once in a lifetime experience is the core of Ichigo Ichie.
Ichigo Ichie depends on our ability to listen, see, touch, smell and savor every moment, doing only one thing at a time, and putting our heart and soul into it, as if it were the last thing we were going to experience on Earth. This for me, is putting aside half an hour of my day, to stop, find my center, put the kettle on and truly listen to the music of the water boiling, brew whatever tea catches my fancy and imbibe in the vitality and beauty of the tea leaves that anchor me to my “here” but also manage to transport me to distant lands.
In Japan, it is inspiring to hear hosts bid farewell to their guests by saying, ‘Ichigo Ichie’, to make us aware that every encounter we experience is unique and a once in a lifetime moment. In essence, it means paying attention to what we are doing, to the other person’s needs and to the magic of a shared moment together – sitting back to reflect on your day, while brewing your favorite cup, are those small yet significant moments in the day that can enrich your soul.
One of the adverts on tea that I watched many years ago that really struck a chord, was for an Indian Assam tea company. The advert was being shot in two rooms. In the first room, the subject drank a cup of Assam tea alone and had to rate it on how this tea tasted and how It made them feel. In the second room, two people shared the exact same tea as the subject in the first room and again, had to rate it too, based on the same criteria – taste and feel. Those who shared the exact same tea, together, rated their experience and enjoyment of drinking the tea higher than those who drank the same tea alone, attesting to Ichigo Ichie’s principal value of appreciating precious moments together, especially in our current pandemic world. It emphasizes that we, as a human species, can experience unique moments of joy, in Zen Spaces by ourselves or the same joy with others.
So honestly, it does not matter which tea brand you enjoy more or how you brew your tea, whether you like it milky and sugary or strong and bold - so long as you can take some time out of your busy day, to spend a few seconds, inhaling the aroma of your brewed tea, appreciating its taste and nuances of flavors in the natural leaf, and reminding yourself that this moment is feeding your soul - this is the secret to creating a tea experience for yourself and your loved ones to remember and cherish.
So here is to many more joyous moments together over many more pots of tea and to consciously nourishing our souls with the Way of Tea 😊
‘Every unrepeatable moment is a small oasis of happiness.
And many oases together make an ocean of happiness. ‘
Ichigo Ichie by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles