The Taste, Smell and the Aroma of Tea
Mindfulness in doing things has highlighted the peak experiences of hill climbers, athletes, musicians, poets and artists, with absence of self-consciousness, enjoyment, relaxation, time slowing down and immersed in the present moment—radically a new way of dealing with boredom and slothfulness in life. We may add to this list, bringing mindfulness to the act of drinking tea, paying attention in the body, feeling, touching, sipping tea, tasting in the wonderful present moment, smelling the aroma—an art the Japanese Zen masters converted into a virtual ceremony. A stimulating cup of tea would cut across moments of dullness, anxiety and loss of energy. When you immerse a tea bag in hot water, the transformation of colour is vivid, the smell of the aromatic tea is legendry—smell and emotion are not only metaphorical but is founded on the evolution of the brain, as emotions grow out of the ability of the brain to smell (Rachel Herz, The Scent of Desire, a book I found in a Roadside Bookshop). Mindful taste and smell of tea makes the drinking of tea a virtual ‘Peak Experience’.