The Art of Daily Practice

The act of drinking tea is ultimately a practice. While a routine teabag in a cup may grant us serene momentary breaks in our day, in essence it remains simply a beverage of enjoyment — unlikely to spark the substantial transformation that tea in the form of a practice, may bring to your life.

Savouring high grade certified organic Japanese green teas for example and preparing them through various brewing techniques with mindful intention, transcends tea drinking into the personal ritual or practice that it truly is.

An intention is usually recognised as the practice of bringing awareness to a quality or virtue you’d like to cultivate for yourself. The word derives from the Latin intendere or intentio, which means both “stretching” and “purpose”. In essence then; if we are to live up to an intention we’ve set, we’re stretching ourselves beyond the place we’re currently at. This might mean towards a different state of mind, a new action or way of feeling, or even a new life path.

And a practice, by its very nature, entails consistent repetition day after day. And so, why would we commit to such regularity if not to instigate personal evolution and transformation somehow, of who we are?

Consider the concept of practice — setting an initial intention, then returning to it consistently until it ingrains itself into behaviour, eventually evolving into habit, to become a practice of second nature over time and, ultimately an intrinsic part of our identity/simply who we are. This process is what gradually moulds and transforms our character.

So applying this perspective to tea as a practice, we must first delve into the underlying intention and connect with it — Why am I treating this as a daily practice? Why does it matter to me? What specific qualities or virtues am I seeking to work towards/cultivate — more consistency, presence, honesty, reliability, authenticity, peacefulness, love or is it simply to nurture your inner world?

In Japanese culture, tea is an art form ritualised to cultivate discipline. Whatever the intention is in your practice, the essence lies in the steady commitment to revisit it each day, where we see the benefits continue to compound, gradually reshaping who we are over time.

Often, we tend to hold subjective perceptions of ourselves, so one way to be really honest and objective is to track all of our daily habits or practices – our waking time, dietary choices, meditation, exercise routines, and so on – and assess their alignment with our aspirations for who we wish to become in our lives. Do these connect?

If change eludes us, perhaps our practices lack alignment with our desired self-image. Therefore it's imperative to ensure that our daily rituals are in harmony with our vision of who we aspire to be. Could tea be your gateway to living a life of cultivation through the art of practice?