The Meditative Benefits of Tea
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The Meditative Benefits of Tea

The Meditative Benefits of Tea Ceremony

 
 
 
The Meditative Benefits of Tea
feat. The Ritualistic Life


“Tea gives you space to drop deeper into a meditative state, which in turn allows you to process whatever is going on for you at that point in time, or just to simply be still. Daily practice also provides a lot of insights and has the capacity to fuel you in all areas of life, which feels very nourishing and rewarding.”

A garment technician working at P.E Nation since 2020, Cassie Polgar has been studying tea and the art of tea ceremony for more than six years. Since creating her service, The Ritualistic Life, and holding her first public sit in August 2022, Cassie has held services for intimate groups, including the P.E Nation head office team in Sydney.
 
It is nothing short of a gift to lean into a moment of meditation and gratitude, and share in one of the world’s oldest, most rewarding rituals – the service and shared enjoyment of tea. An opportunity to surrender all else in favour of sitting, resting, being, in present time. Cassie shares her journey with her practice so far, and how to incorporate simple rituals into your daily life.
 
 
 
 
 
 
How did you discover tea ceremony and service?
Tea has always been circling around me since I was a young child. I was gifted a beautiful little blue and white Chinese teapot from my Aunty, and in that pot I used to fold up all my love letters my parents used to write to me as a child. Every single hand written note is still in that pot today. And then as time went on Tea circled back into my life through someone who I look up to a lot in my lineage, who goes by the name of Baelyn Elspeth. I stumbled across Baelyn through Instagram and after seeing her speak about Global Tea Hut and all that Tea had gifted her in her life, I was beyond intrigued. So I went straight into looking up Global Tea Hut and fell instantly in love with everything they do.

Where was your first tea ceremony experience, and how did it feel?
The very first Tea Ceremony I experienced was gifted to me from a Female Monk, who offered Tea as part of a weekend-long Meditation Retreat in Wollongong, near Sydney, at a temple called Nan Tien. It was beautiful, and honestly when I saw that was a part of the curriculum I was basically just waiting till that moment to be able to have the experience. The cups used were so small that I literally soaked in every little sip. It was divine.

 

How did you know this was something you wanted to study and weave into your life?
From the first moment I stumbled across Global Tea Hut, I felt a deep inner connection and calling to Tea. I was so intrigued by it all that I just knew I wanted to become part of their subscription model and learn more about Tea. However, over the past couple of years, after really diving in deeper and understanding the practice on a subtler level, I feel like the dots are connecting more with my understanding of Tea and the practice. And now it’s something I crave every single day. I really notice a difference on the days when I don’t sit for Tea. It was a very organic and natural process how Tea came into my life, but it’s now something I feel has become a part of me and the way I live my life, so hence I want to understand it even more so.

 

 

 
 
 
How long have you been studying for? Is studying an ongoing practice?
I have been reading and studying about Tea now for over 6 years, however the past 2 - 3 years have been pivotal and I feel it’s where my practice and studies have really strengthened and deepened. The world of Tea is vast and I am still very much just traversing the surface of it all. I am in no way even close to understanding the teachings and the depths that they carry (that would take a zillion lifetimes). So yes, the study, teachings and practice are ongoing and continue to evolve as time goes on.

What do you love most about studying under and being connected to Global Tea Hut?
Wu De is the founder and Teacher at Global Tea Hut, and the way he teaches is so enrapturing and entertaining that it just makes me want to come back for more every time. The way he writes and shares his wisdom on Tea is phenomenal and also very practical. I also love the integrity and pureness that Global Tea Hut exudes through everything they do. Global Tea Hut have teamed up with many local Tea Farmers to assist with keeping them in business, and in turn helping the environment. All the Tea at Global Tea Hut is free of agrochemicals, pesticides and herbicides. For Tea farmers to be able to offer this kind of Tea is hard and they are very much going against the grain. With the modern day consumer and big businesses who want everything quickly and easily, it’s hard for these smaller more natural and sustainably run businesses to survive. And when it comes to allowing Nature to produce the finest drop, this is something that cannot be rushed. Global Tea Hut supports these Farmers so they can continue processing their Teas in the most natural and authentic way without the pressure of whether they will yield and sell enough for that season. It really is so beautiful and we all get to benefit from it.
 
All the Teaware they sell comes from other Tea lovers who consume Tea and understand exactly what is required from each piece that goes into a Tea Ceremony, therefore also supporting artisans and their crafts. And then there is the beautiful community of Tea lovers that are spread all across the world, but are all linked by one single love which is Tea. It’s truly something special when you come across another Chajin (Tea Person) who shares your same love for the leaf.
 
Global Tea Hut are also working towards building a Tea Center in Taiwan that will facilitate classes and lessons all based around Tea and the teaching that they offer. This center will be for all the students around the world to come and join together in one place to practice and learn. So this is something I am very excited about and this is also another reason I love supporting them.
 
How often do you practice? What benefits do you receive from it?
At this point in time I Sit with Tea almost every day. Some days life just gets in the way and I don’t get a chance, but most weeks it’s every day. There are so many benefits that I receive from consuming Tea, however the one that I continue to feel through all my Sits is a lot of peace and clarity. It gives me space to drop deeper into a meditative state which in turn allows me to process whatever is going on for me at that point in time, or just to simply be still. I find my daily practice also gives me a lot of insights and fuels me in all areas of my life which feels very nourishing and rewarding.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Describe your first public Sit.
My very first public Sit was only 4 months ago. I have been sitting with Tea for years, but only recently have I felt called to start sharing publicly. It was beyond what I could have manifested and dreamt of. I had 10 of my most nearest and dearest friends and family attend. It was held on my home land on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, at an Art Gallery called HAKE. The gallery itself lends a beautiful and serene energy to the environment, but combining that with the visuals of Art and woven around sound and Ceremony was really something else, and was all-encompassing for the senses. It was beautiful and an event I will treasure forever. I felt very honoured and blessed to be held by such a beautiful space and to be able to serve such special ones in my life.
 
Can you share a favourite memory of ceremony, either serving or being served?
There is so many, but I feel it’s fitting to share the biggest manifestation yet, which was serving Tea at P.E Nation. A few years ago when I was living abroad I was thinking about how I wanted to bring Tea to the world, and also bring it in a way that is true to me. Having worked in the fashion industry for almost 2 decades now and knowing how fast-paced and deadline-driven it is, I thought how fitting it would be to bring this practice into the Fashion Industry. At the time I was working for a company abroad and had no intentions of living back in Australia, however I started to write a list of all the companies I would like to serve Tea to in the industry and P.E Nation was the very first one on that list.
 
Fast forward 3 years later, not only did I get to serve P.E Nation Tea, I actually work for them and each and every individual that was sitting in that room I knew on a personal level. It was really such a phenomenal experience and it just goes to show that no matter how out of reach or wild our dreams may be, dream big because they just might come true.

Everyone at Team P.E loves you Cassie. We know you plan everything with thought and love, right down to the playlist for a service. What goes into preparing for each sit?
Yes a lot goes into the actual Sit before and also after. Cleaning is a big part of offering Tea, and that goes into every aspect of it, cleaning the space, cleaning the Teaware and also cleansing and cleaning ourselves. It's an honour to serve Tea to others, and therefore in honouring you we are honouring all that surrounds you as well.
 
Along with the cleaning aspect, there is also the layout of the Ceremony and aesthetically how that will look. Each Chaxi (Tea Stage) holds a different theme which is never shared, but for the viewer to create their own interpretation. So a lot of thought and energy goes into the creation of this part of the ceremony. Then there is the type of Tea that will be served, which in turn will direct which kind of brewing method will be used, which then leads into which Teaware to use. The seasons also play a big part in which kind of Tea and Ceremony will be brought to life. I also like to weave in sound and sometimes scent, with each Sit being unique unto itself. So therefore each playlist created is crafted for that Sit alone. But the way I go about creating all of the above is very intuition-led and something I “feel” into more than really think about.

What are some of your favourite teas to serve?
I loveeeeee Shou Puerh. It’s my favourite. So this is definitely my most served Tea. However now having moved into the warmer months I do really also enjoy Oolong and Green Teas as well. Actually I really enjoy them all, but I tend to lean more into the Shou Puerh world.

What does 2023 have ahead for The Ritualistic Life?
Alot. Many more ceremonies and hopefully a trip to a few other states around Australia to start weaving and sharing Tea in other communities, along with some other little side projects and workshops. So a lot of exciting things ahead which just makes my heart so happy and I feel so honoured and grateful for this practice. The most important thing, though, is just bringing people together and sharing in the beauty that is Tea.