Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Becoming Health Conscious: The Aesthetic Experience of Tea by Jonathan Manley

For years, I loved the taste and the craft of coffee. But after several years of full immersion in coffee culture, my health demanded that I give it up. Though the process of quitting was painful, I learned a lot about my body and myself. When I made the transition to tea, I found not only a caffeine substitute but also a beverage that provided a plethora of perks. It is easily as sensuously pleasing and diverse as any beverage I have ever tasted. But most surprisingly, I discovered that it made me more conscious. When I drank coffee I never thought much about myself, physically or mentally. In fact, when I quit drinking coffee I realized how much I had to ignore my body in order to consume it considering the numerous side effects I felt such as a racing heart beat, sour stomach, lock jaw, listlessness, and an inability to focus.
Tea provides an entirely different experience. Not only did I find a suitable caffeine substitute but also I found that consuming tea facilitated good health. For me, tea is calming; it makes me feel centered and focused, and pleasantly uplifted. This sense of focus has helped me become closer to my body, which I think is the first step to health, and has enabled me to listen to my body’s needs. This process of conscious listening has been a great aid in becoming healthy—a benefit beyond the taste, culture, and art of tea. In the next post, I will explore the aspects of the tea experience that create this focus and centeredness. Stay tuned.

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