Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Excerpt from "Meditations with Tea"

Another book on tea I've been reading is Diana Rosen's Meditations With Tea: Paths to Inner Peace, which, true to the title, is literally about using tea as the centerpiece of a relaxing, mellowness-inducing meditation experience.

In the introduction, the author describes her very first experience with meditation—nothing structured or guided by a teacher, just quiet relaxation taken to the next level:

In the beginning, on the advice and counsel of a friend, I began to sit quietly each day and "not think."

The first day I lasted about a minute.

The rattle-rattle in my head of deafening. The next day, I lasted a minute again. I could not let go of the fear that if I was still and let myself be at rest there would be nothing there. Or, there would be things I did not want to know or be reminded about. The fear was so intense, I abandoned the practice for weeks until my friend said, "Just try again." Imagine light or dark, he advised; invite good feelings, love, God, whatever you want, to pour into your being and go to that place of stillness that can quiet the mind completely.

The next morning, I sat upright on my chair, relaxed my arms, breathed in and out with a few deep breaths, and invited dark velvet to drape over me. I continued my measured breathing. I thought of the dark velvet under me, over me .... I do not know how long I was in that state when a thought interrupted, saying, "I feel so relaxed, like in a dream." I opened my eyes and noticed that I had been meditating for twenty minutes. Eureka! What was really exciting was how great and energized I felt, and the feeling lasted throughout the day. I believed that I had made a new beginning, a new start." [pgs. xiv-xv]

It's interesting that sometimes the first thing to be overcome in achieving this deep relaxation is the fear of being alone with our thoughts.

I'll be posting more excerpts from this very intriguing book. Stay tuned!

—Mellow Monk

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