Tea, Mindfulness, & the Monk Who Showed Me the Way in Kathmandu

Tea, Mindfulness, & the Monk Who Showed Me the Way in Kathmandu

In the heart of Patan, Nepal, I was inexorably drawn to a charming tea house. Through its windowless wood-framed windows, I glimpsed a scene of monks engaged in serene conversations over cups of sweet-smelling tea.

Stepping inside, I felt like a foreigner in this cozy local enclave, but to my astonishment, warm smiles greeted me. The waiter, sizing me up with a friendly glance, asked, "Chai?" I nodded, "Yes, please," and found a quiet corner to settle in.

Within moments, the waiter delivered a steaming cup of the tea. As I took that first sip, an astonishing sense of calm and focus enveloped me. It was as if the very essence of mindfulness had been captured in this brew. 

"Wow," "What a tea" I whispered under my breath. 

Savoring its flavors, I found myself locking eyes with a serene monk seated across from me.

Breaking the silence with a tranquil smile, the monk posed a question that caught me off guard, "Do you know why it's so important to drink tea every day?"

Perplexed, I replied, "Well, uhh, yea. I it's good for you right?" 

The monk chuckled softly and gracefully moved to take the empty seat opposite me. "This tea is special. You must drink it and think calmly. It can be very helpful for your life."

Suddenly he beckoned to the waiter, revealing their camaraderie, and, to my amazement, we found ourselves in the back kitchen, embarking on an extraordinary tea-making and drinking journey.

Here's what I learned:

How to Drink Himalayan Chai like a monk

Step 1: Create a Sacred Space

Begin by setting up a serene, uncluttered space dedicated to your tea ritual. Ensure all the essential tools and ingredients are readily accessible. This space should emanate tranquility, inviting you to immerse yourself in the present moment.

Step 2: Intentional Preparation

Measure out your Himalayan Chai. For a teapot use 10 grams or 2 tablespoons. Pay close attention as you measure and add set aside. Each action should be deliberate, focusing on the simplicity of the task at hand.

Step 3: Boiling the Essence

Next add one cup of water to your stove top pot and bring it to a boil. Once boiling slowly add the tea to the pot and let it simmer for five minutes. During this process, listen to the sound of the simmering and feel the warmth of the steam. Embrace the notion of impermanence, recognizing that all things are fleeting, just like the steam that rises from the pot.

Step 4: Create Balance 

After the initial five minutes, pour in one cup of your preferred type of milk, whether it be dairy or plant-based. Allow the mixture to continue boiling for an additional minute. Be present in this moment, observing the fusion of ingredients that create the unique harmony. the balance of your chai.

Step 5: The Mindful Sip

Pour the freshly brewed Elevated Himalayan Chai into your cup. Take your first sip slowly, savoring the taste and texture. Let the flavors linger on your palate. In this moment, be fully present, allowing your thoughts to gently drift away.

Notice the individual flavors, the black tea, the richness of the milk, the cardamom, the cinnamon and the anise. 

Be completely present and void of all stress.

This time is for you to enjoy and revitalize.

Step 6: Silent Reflection

After savoring your chai, find a comfortable place to sit in silent contemplation. Let the warmth of the tea and the serenity of the moment envelop you.

Begin meditating by taking deep, natural breaths and acknowledging any thoughts without judgment. If you have embarked on Everyday Enlightenment: Beginnings, now is a perfect time to explore the daily theme.

Why Meditate with tea?

I've incorporated tea into my daily routine, a habit that connects me to the teachings of Dorje, the Tibetan Buddhist monk I met in Nepal. It has truly enriched my life.

This practice offers an opportunity to infuse your everyday existence with mindfulness, allowing you to forge a deeper bond with the present moment and uncover a profound sense of tranquility.

Chai tea meditation is a powerful reminder that even in the ordinary, there lies the potential for the extraordinary. With each sip, we unearth the depths of our own existence.

So, brew yourself a cup of chai, sip it deliberately, and let this gentle ritual guide you toward a life that is more mindful and serene.