Coffee Lovers and Meditation Unite
I am a coffee nut. I admit it. First thing in the morning, there is nothing finer than the smell of a great coffee bean that has been ground and is finally dripping into my coffee cup. I drink it strong, dark and black, so I don’t need much. But by 1 or 2 in the afternoon, I am ready to escape the noise of my business life and find another moment to myself. Coffee helps me escape from my surroundings, and unless I am in meeting sharing conversation with someone else, I use my “coffee time” for a meditation time.
People often have a difficult time finding time for meditation so I offer a few techniques I have used over the years to get the most out of my java. (Can be performed with tea or hot chocolate too I suppose, but the question begs to be asked, “Why”?) :)
How to Meditate and Drink Coffee at the Same Time
1. Go it alone. This seems obvious but to some it may be difficult. This is not the time to chat or to call a friend to meet you. It’s already too crowded with me, myself, and I. That is why we meditate, to still some of the chatter going on inside in our own head.
2. Go it with gratitude. Before you leave your car, or your office, or your bedroom, begin to say “thank you.” Imagine the coffee, the time alone and the opportunity to enjoy silence, and start the “gratitude attitude” mindset in motion.
3. Go for an empty table. It doesn’t matter how busy it is, how many people are in line, who is talking about what on their cell phone, and how many babies are screaming. You can do this. It is about you and your coffee; that is all there is.
4. Go for the feel of it. Put your hand around the cup and feel the heat come through. What does it feel like as the heat enters your hand and begins to warm your entire body? Bring your attention to the sensation and notice. You may find yourself feeling comforted, welcomed, nurtured, or just plain sweaty. Don’t worry about what the feeling is; just pay enough attention to your hands and the cup to feel something.
5. Go for the smell. Smell the coffee and breathe in your silence. Use the aroma as a point of reference. Nothing else matters. No conversation is important. You are entering your own world of sensation and peace. Relax with it and don’t force your feeling. Simply notice what you do feel.
Time out: You may feel irritated, distracted, busy, hurried, bothered, or nothing at all. All of these and more is perfectly okay. If you practice this meditation for two weeks on a daily basis, either at home or at your favorite coffee hang out (or a new one you choose for this experiment), you will soon experience much more presence and much less distraction.
6. Go for the taste. Stop and notice the feel of the heat on your lips, your tongue, and your entire mouth. Notice the taste you often take for granted. Be present to the feeling you have as you sip your java. Have you escaped for a few moments from pressure? This is your time to quiet yourself.
7. Go for a few long breaths. Notice yourself having a sip, swallowing and then sitting back with a large, slow inhalation and slow, thoughtless exhalation. Repeat this 3 or 4 times before enjoying your next sip.
8. Go for silence. It may take you a few attempts to be able to disconnect from the noise around you, but it will take much longer to disconnect from noise inside you. That constant barrage of words, thoughts, “should of,” scolds, checklists, fantasies, etc… is a drain on your internal resources. It is time for a 10-second break from it all. So let your mind drift into space.
Here's a trick I use to help me disconnect: Focus your eyes on an object in the room or outside the room. Stare, but don’t follow any action. Simply stare. After 3 or 4 seconds, your eyes will relax. (Usually, this type of focus is accompanied by a breath that is more “releasing” than normal. You don’t need to force this breath; it just arrives on time by its own initiative.) If you stay with it, everything but your focus will go slightly blurred. And then stay, and breathe. Make it a conscious choice to remain. Your entire body will relax into the focus. You don’t need to stay all day, but 30 seconds will make a remarkable impact on your state of being.
9. Go repeat numbers 4-8. Do it as many times as you are comfortable with and finish your coffee (or not).
10. Go with gratitude. Don’t judge the effectiveness, or how it should have been any other way. Thank life for what you just felt and leave it alone, until the next time.
Please go and visit Harmony’s Golden Zen blog. She has written many wonderful posts about meditating, listening to the silence, and so much more that will help you get into your Zen.