Recently, while reading “Being Peace,” Thich Nhat Hanh led me to a sort of awakening with this poem:
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.
I realized that the reason for my scattered brain is that I’m always thinking in the future. It seems harmless, especially compared to my former unhealthy habit of living in the past. However, when my mind is always on the next thing, I lose focus on the present. My brain has become so accustomed to considering what I’ll do with my quiet hour at night, what chores need to be done, what to make for dinner tomorrow, what plans to make for the weekend, that I often struggle to bring myself back to the here and now. Not the best way to enjoy life.
So I decided to make a greater effort to live in the moment. I’m trying to take a few minutes each morning to meditate on being present, and again in the evening.
The same day I discovered the cause for my monkey brain, a friend posted a meme of another Thich Nhat Hanh quote on Facebook: “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the Earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
You know how sometimes it’s seems like the universe is trying to tell you something? Well, I really started paying attention. This morning I had a few minutes to myself after breakfast. I made myself a cup of tea and decided to put both of these ideas into practice: I had a tea meditation.
I put aside my phone, closed my eyes, and truly experienced the tea. I felt the warmth of the cup on my hands, and paused. I enjoyed the aroma of the Assam leaves, and paused. I tasted the bold-yet-smooth flavor, and paused. I traced the hot liquid as it went down my throat and into my stomach, warming my body, and paused. I smiled. And paused.
It was a fantastic meditation, one I plan to experience again and again. After just a few minutes I felt peaceful, calm, and happy. Then I realized the photo assignment for today was green, as was my tea-cup. So I continued my meditation with my camera.
Sometimes when the universe has something to say, it does so insistently. Listen.