The mindful life:
slow down to go fast.
The Japanese tea ceremony, sometimes called chanoyu, is a ritual performance during which tea is brewed. First brought to Japan from China by Buddhist monks in the 9th century, each part of the tea making process is carried out slowly, with focus and intent, until finally the tea can be consumed, it’s hot, delicate flavour being thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed. It is a celebration of the tea, a performance of respect for the process of making it.
But it isn’t about tea.
The ceremony is a metaphor for being present in the moment, and for a way of living that enables us to take ownership of life, to truly live, and to experience existence in all its delicate beauty. What the Buddhist monks knew all those years ago is that we spend most of our time worrying about the past, anxious about the future, or lost in thought somewhere else completely. Were are rarely here in the present. But that’s where life is, right here, right now, and if we can be present in the moment we have the opportunity to dance with it like an artist dances with his brush.
When we adopt a mindful approach to life, with the intention of being fully present in our awareness, we are able to enjoy the rich flavours, colours and textures that the universe has to offer. Food tastes better, colours and experiences and more vivid, and we get to be involved in the process of being.
But more than this, it gives us the opportunity to look within, through activities such as meditation, and we can begin to see ourselves. It can help us to tackle self-esteem issues, to recognise both our strengths and our weaknesses, and to get past the emotional blockages that prevent us from realising our potential. We get to be better versions of ourselves – decisive, confident, unstuck.
When we slow down and take a mindful approach to life, we become more assertive, more compassionate, more understanding, and more competent. We realise that we have always had the answers we were looking for, but we weren’t asking the right questions. We can let go of all the things that are holding us back, of ego and pride, and step forward bravely into the unknown, eager to switch on the light.
It is a practice, like going to the gym. One that I have benefitted from personally, and that I’m seeking to share, through my books, my workshops, my writing, and my coaching. Join me and together we can unshackle ourselves from who we think are supposed to be, and become who we truly are.