Where the edge of a forest greets that of a city, the chaos of the concrete jungle gradually melts into the stillness of a real one. The dull thud of footfalls on pavement and the noiseless glide of tires give way to the muffle of leaves and gravel crunching underfoot. The azure sky yields its skyward throne to the crowns of trees, and even shadows supersede the sun as tree trunks stand sentinel guarding the life within. When you set foot in the forest and let the air envelop you like a weighted blanket, there’s an instant restorative effect on both body and mind. Simple though it may seem, the Japanese have coined a name for this practice: shinrin-yoku, which directly translates to forest bathing. This doesn’t describe exercise such as a hike, rather, it’s not unlike a form of meditation. Forest bathing describes the bliss of simply being in nature and connecting with it through attention to your senses. Such is the concept of mindfulness.
Tibetan Buddhism espouses beliefs centering on the importance of mindfulness which permeates mind, body, and soul. TIbetan Buddhism mirrors other forms of Buddhism in that it encourages spiritual development in pursuit of Buddhahood or enlightenment in order to help other individuals do the same. Unique to Tibetan Buddhism, however, is the idea that the mind is dependent on a subtle energy within the body known as the Lungta. Lungta, or wind horse, is a mythical Tibetan creature whose storied speed and strength grant it the ability to carry prayers from earth to the heavens. This Tibetan lore was the inspiration for our green tea blend, Lungta Spirit. A vehicle of enlightenment, we associate Lungta Spirit with positive energy and good luck. Mythology as our ongoing dialogue with spirituality, Lungta Spirit offers the perfect allegory to inspire personal rituals in our everyday lives. The mindful composition of toasty Hojicha green tea, smoky Lapsang Souchong black tea and sweet blueberry leaves, creates a unique experience that reminds us of the still and subdued temples of Eastern philosophies.
Similarly – albeit not a religion unto itself – tea has become all but synonymous with the holistic approach to mind-body wellness. This is due in part to its associations with yoga. As yoga gained popularity in western cultures, so too did the Ayurvedic ideology it espouses. Ayurveda refers to a whole-body approach to wellness. By proxy, ayurvedic medicine and its treatises describe three doshas, or types of energy that circulate within your body. Each dosha is responsible for specific physiological functions, and the balance thereof results in health. In order to maintain this balance, it’s essential to develop proper dieting techniques in addition to engaging in practices such as yoga and meditation to reduce stress and improve flexibility. In keeping with the tenets of ayurveda, we developed an inspired set of tea blends which is equal parts energizing and grounding. Thus comes our Yogi’s Delight, a pair of finely balanced, caffeine-free organic herbal blends of relaxing and soothing properties.
Scarcely just a cure for headaches or a modern elixir, tea is a foundational element in the commitment to mindfulness. Indeed, there’s a sense of comfort to be derived from the sameness of a routine. Routine bestows upon us the slight relief of passivity, of a brief respite from the demanding minutiae of our day to day. It blankets us with subconscious familiarity. Yet when we go on autopilot, we invariably miss out on the beautiful subtleties of life’s simple pleasures. Such is the teaching of zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, a global spiritual leader, poet, peace activist, and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Inspired by his teachings, we curated a selection of organic, consciously sourced fine teas as part of an ongoing collaboration with global and spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh. The Mindfulness Duo presents two origin teas, a milky oolong from Thailand and a green tea from China, in a P & T gift box. This gift seeks to awaken our senses to the pure, present moment with every sip of tea. When enjoyed with the energy of mindfulness and true presence, we can experience a profound, awakened connection with ourselves, our bodies, and our beloved mother earth.
And when you live without mindfulness, everything is like in a dream. A trip, the subway, the street, the car, everything is like in a dream. And if we are awake, mindful, if we are truly there, everything becomes real again. And that is the miracle of mindfulness.
- Thich Nhat Hanh