I want to share with you one of my favourite mindfulness exercises. It’s a classic, which you can work with at any point during your day, and no one will notice – apart from you. It produces a wonderful sense of calm.
Past students have told me how this technique has helped them to let go of stress and anxiety, coming back to the ‘present moment’ and regaining their perspective.
So you might expect it to be complicated or difficult to learn? Perhaps requiring special training and equipment?
Well, it’s something that each and every one of us can do (and we do it best and most naturally when we’re toddlers and upwards!) and it does require special equipment – a cup of tea (or any other drink).
Reckon you could manage it?
Is it time to taste your tea?
Have you ever drunk a mug of tea or coffee, got to the end of it and realised you have no memory of drinking it?
I have to confess that I did it (again! ) just now, whilst writing this message for you.
I got to the end of the mug of tea – which I had been really looking forward to – and realised I hadn’t noticed myself drinking it. Duh!
It’s a common symptom of ‘mind-fullness’, when we go onto auto-pilot, living in your head, not your present moment.
As an antidote, today I am going to invite you to taste your tea. Of course, it’s a metaphor for shifting your experience of life. But you don’t need to look at it that way, just now. Tasting your tea is all I’m asking of you.
It’s a classic exercise that you can do to practice mindful awareness. And the great thing is that it doesn’t take up your time, yet it brings huge benefits – fast.
Is It Time To Taste Your Tea?
Here’s an audio, to guide you through this process:
The next time you make yourself a drink, hot or cold, I invite you to:
- Sit down with it.
Don’t drink it on the run.
- Before you pick it up and drink it, actually look at it.
Really drag all of your awareness into the process of seeing what you see.
Notice the glass, cup or mug it’s in. Really see how the light reflects off it. Allow yourself to see the textures. There might be steam or ice-cold bubbles.
Notice what you notice, in minute detail.
- Pick it up and notice the tactile feel of the cup or glass.
How does it feel in your hands? Perhaps there is a warmth or a coolness? How heavy is it? Is it smooth? Textured? Really allow your full awareness to rest in your fingertips for a few moments as you hold the drink.
- Before you drink the drink, take a sniff.
Spend a moment allowing the smell to fill your awareness, letting your concentration gently rest on your drink.
- As you start to drink, sipping gently or gulping, it’s up to you, allow yourself to really taste your drink.
Taste your tea, taste your water, whatever it is you’re drinking. Experience the sensation over your tongue and your taste buds. And, as you swallow, allow yourself to hear the sound.
Be fully present to the experience of ‘tasting your tea’.
Once you are used to playing with this, it takes no time at all.
Your cup of tea (or whatever you’re drinking) becomes an automatic unconscious anchor to help you remember to be mindful – to come back to the ‘now’ – to experience life, rather than your mind’s story of life.
Even if you are talking to someone or working on your computer, as you drink your tea, each time you pick up your mug for another sip, you can return to that calm place of being mindful, even if just for a few moments.
Normally we would make a cup of tea in a hurry, get to the end of it and wonder where it went. We drink unconsciously, we eat unconsciously, we live unconsciously, as though we are half-asleep.
Practising mindful interaction with every day experiences is the fastest way to learn mindfulness – and shift your experience of life.
How did you get on? Any questions? Any insights? Here’s where to share:
Is it time to taste your tea?