Coffee is so refreshing, depressing, oppressing and French Pressing!
Back when coffee wasn’t so cool (or hot, if you prefer), it was considered the sinister drink of the devil! In fact, Sultan Murad IV, Ottoman Empire, would have cut off your head for even the slightest suspicion that you consumed this now coveted beverage.
“If you look at the rhetoric about drugs that we’re dealing with now — like, say, crack — it’s very similar to what was said about coffee,” Stewart Allen, author of The Devil’s Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History.
I know what you are thinking, as you slowly pull the white plastic lip of your Starbucks cup from your mouth: “…I just say coffee is my crack…”
In those days, it was said that coffee aided in uprisings and lead to riots in the streets. I suppose this could be true because a nice cup of coffee can certainly lift you out of your seat. Even the pope loved himself some devil sauce, “Why, this Satan’s drink is so delicious that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it.” Pope Clement VIII once stated.
“So, how can we use this naughty juice of the gods outside of a ‘morning pick-me-up’ or capital crime context?” You ask…
There are many ways we can go about doing this: one could focus on the complex notes as they illuminate your palate; how the coffee changes in taste as it moves across the tongue; or, even just allowing its drug-like effect to envelop your mind, open it up, and set your creativity and soul free (effectively making you a wild and crazy anarchist, or something fun like that…).
I am telling you now: once you go black, you will never go back. So, get yourself a great, and I mean GREAT, cup of black coffee—pardon me, coffee of color, I hate being politically incorrect.
Oh and I hear your back there, “but, I do not drink coffee,” that is fine; pick your favorite tea.
Let’s caffeinate, err, meditate!
Sit down, and take several deep breaths.
Start bring your attention to your breathing, and then subtly move your attention to your mouth. Notice how it feels, how it tastes, how moist it is. Note everything you can and continue breathing.
Now, grab your cup, close your eyes and deeply smell the coffee. Hold the breath; become rooted in the coffee’s scent. Think of this like a coffee mula bundha, root-lock.
Exhale, and breathe in the scent again.
With your breath held, take in a bit of coffee and breathe out slowly, holding the coffee in your mouth. Move it around slowly, and notice the subtleties that arise in your sensory perception.
What does it taste like? Can you taste fruit? Or perhaps it has a very earthy taste to it. Is it strong? Weak? Taste of bourbon? (If it tastes like ash, you’ve got yourself a cup made with old beans… try something fresher, your experience will be far more complex.)
Swallow and repeat for as long as you please.
Perhaps you only have time for two sips before you need to down the cup and get back to answering your daily deluge of emails—that’s fine. Each time you do this meditation, your tongue will become more refined, your mind will be more relaxed, your attention to detail will improve, and overall you will feel better, and calmer.
If you cannot meditate on your coffee, drink it as you normally would, but try and hone in on how you are feeling. Watch how the coffee affects your mind, your imagination, and your body sensations. Notate these changes, and see how you can utilize them throughout your day. Become intimately aware of how your state of being changes when you consume your morning cup.
“But what difference does this make?”
As you well know, we live in a world of sensory overload. We are inundated by twitter, facebook, blogs, newspapers, emails, phone calls, texts, everything under the sun, all-day and everyday.
And, because of this we create a thirsty mind, one that endlessly searches for happiness; a search that will continue indefinitely unless we can find the happiness that exists right beneath our noses. The thirsty mind drives us away from stillness and roots us in mania.
The antidote: to connect for just a few moments each day through the scent and taste of our ritualistic morning cup of coffee. Through this we will connect to the scent of our innate virtue. We will learn that, perhaps, there is something more to life than running from one thing to another, and while we transition from activity to activity we will begin to notice the world that exists in-between our hustling feet.
Narrow does the world when our feet cannot notice the pebbles in the road, or the flowers in the air. Distant we grow from the virtue of our soul, and the virtue of humankind.
So, make coffee your daily meditation ritual rather than just drinking it for a kick in the pants, and try to apply this to other aspects of your life, as well. Imagine what your life would be like if you opened your eyes a little wider?
If you refuse… Off with your head!
“Meditation should mix with what you do rather then become some kind of super special activity. The idea is that as you practice and study, this experience actually influences your life rather then becoming a completely separate topic. You’re not really training to be a statue or encyclopedia. You’re training to be a great human being.” ~ David Nichtern
This post was originally published on Elephant Journal