Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Zen coffee is simply being in the present moment, enjoying the moment, without any words to distract you from the peacefulness of a mindful moment. Zen coffee makes you happy and brings a smile to your face because you are in tune with the inner essence of yourself. Let a smile be your mantra for today to bring out your inner Zen. Smile, and have a Zen day!
Monday, July 28, 2008
Breathing is something you do every day, day in and day out. So what makes breathing so special, other than keeping you alive? It's when you focus on your breath, when you're aware that you're breathing in and out. This is mindfulness, paying attention only to your breath. It centers you within yourself, calms your mind, and opens you to your spiritual nature. It brings you into harmony and creates peacefulness.
Breathe. Be here, now, completely in the present moment. Let your thoughts go as you center into what you’re doing and feeling at this very moment. Breathe and be. Being in the present moment is stilling and empowering. It is mindfulness, being mindful of what you’re doing in the moment that you are doing it, without letting your thoughts wander. If they stray, gently focus your awareness on your breathing; focus on the present—right here, right now—into what you’re doing and feeling at this exact moment in time. Just breathe and be with yourself.
In Zen meditation, a bell is used to bring your awareness back into yourself. When you hear the bell, you stop what you are doing and focus completely in the present moment. You use your breath to bring you into the peaceful essence of yourself. Let coffee be your bell to meditate. Whenever and wherever you are, whatever you are doing and feeling, as you drink your coffee, let it bring you fully into the present moment, into the awareness of your calm, peaceful inner nature.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
You can find the mindfulness of Zen anywhere, anytime, all the time, and in any situation: while drinking your coffee, being in a beautiful garden, washing the dishes, mowing the lawn, writing a book, cooking dinner, walking through the rain, and riding a motorcycle. You don't need to be a meditating monk on a mountain to achieve Zen or sit in silence to listen to your inner spirit. I found a wonderful post this morning about Motorcycle Zen, a weekend journey taken simply to experience and enjoy the journey.
Reading Nicole's post, I was immediately reminded of a book I'd read many years ago: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. Here's what he says about the book: "The real cycle you're working on is a cycle called yourself. The study of the art of motorcycle maintenance is really a miniature study of the art of rationality itself. Working on a motorcycle, working well, caring, is to achieve an inner peace of mind. The motorcycle is primarily a mental phenomenon."
Whatever you're doing, wherever you are, is where you'll find Zen.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Need a few minutes for yourself to relax and tune in to your inner nature? I love being in a garden. It's very peaceful being in a beautiful place in nature; it brings me back into mindful awareness--with or without my Zen coffee. This is a beautiful Zen Garden meditation by Mystic Zen. It will transport you into a beautiful place.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Breathe. Hold your cup in both hands and breathe in the wonderful aroma of your freshly-brewed cup of coffee. Feel the cup in your hands, its texture and shape; feel its warmth from the coffee inside. As you raise your cup of coffee to your mouth, be aware of the motion of your arms. Breathe in the aroma and warmth of your coffee. As you take that first delicious sip, notice the taste, the flavor of your coffee; notice how the coffee feels in your mouth. Notice the warmth, feel it moving into your throat as you swallow. Breathe. Feel the essence of the coffee within you. Enjoy your coffee. Experience the essence of your coffee, the essence of you. Breathe and be with your coffee. Breathe and be with yourself.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Mr. Jeff Simmermon, a coffee drinker who knows how he likes his coffee, walked into Murky Coffee and ordered an iced espresso. The barista, David Flynn, who knows how to serve coffee by adhering to store policies, refused to serve the coffee this way. Apparently, this wasn't a Zen moment for either Jeff or David.
Jeff shared his side of the story and Murky Coffee shared theirs. The Washington Post had a few things to say about it as did Timothy Burke at Easily Distracted. There's a heated discussion going on over at the coffeegeek forums and numerous blogs have made mention of this coffee controversy, taking one side or the other.
So I thought I'd add my voice to the chorus. Zen is the way of balance, of finding the middle road. Zen is the way of peace and harmony. Well, we all know that didn't happen.
The one thing that no one has considered is: What about the coffee? Coffee beans, by their very nature, are Zen-like and live in harmony. How do you think the coffee felt being pulled into this situation? The sole purpose of a coffee bean's life is to bring you the best cup of coffee it can, filled with its unique flavor. I'll bet the little coffee beans were trembling with fear at this confrontation, maybe wondering if they'd be devoured in an iced espresso or be held captive in the espresso machine. Poor little babies.I'd like to hear what you have to say about this. Please keep in mind that this is a Zen site and we practice peacefulness here. Maybe we could all stir a little loving kindness into our coffee and take a peaceful Zen moment to meditate on our coffee before we say anything, both on this blog and in our everyday activities. Just a thought...
Saturday, July 19, 2008
A Zen coffee meditation is something you can do anywhere, anytime, with or without coffee. All you need to do is breathe and be mindfully present. The following meditation is excerpted from my forthcoming book, Zen Coffee: A Guide to Mindful Meditation.
Breathe in a feeling of peacefulness. Take a drink of your coffee or bring to mind the aroma and flavor of your coffee to center yourself within the caffeine buzz to capture the essence of your inner nature. Breathe. Mindfully meditate on your coffee or on the qualities of your coffee. Breathe. Focus and center in on the Zen of your coffee. Breathe.
Focus and center in on the calm essence of your inner nature. Breathe. Let all your thoughts flow out of your mind. Breathe in a feeling of calm peacefulness. Breathe out worries and tension. Breathe in the essence of Zen coffee. Let your mind gently float into the ethereal essence of the steam rising from your hot coffee. Breathe. Let your mind softly flow into the ethereal essence of you. Breathe in the Zen. That’s all
you have to do; just meditate on your coffee and breathe to capture
the calm essence of your inner self.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Since I blogged yesterday about loving kindness, I decided to practice what I preach.
I have a little black pomeranian dog, Moki. (Her name is a play on words for Mocha in case you were wondering.) She has this habit of following me wherever I go and nipping at my heels. She must have been a sheep-herding dog in one of her past lives. Wherever I go, there she is, biting my ankles. I realize that in the great scheme of things, this is a small stress. But it really hurts when she bites me and since she has really sharp teeth, she's drawn blood from time to time. I would yell the word "no" at her when she nipped me and tell her she was a bad dog.
I decided to practice loving kindness toward her. The next time she nipped at me, I stopped walking and stooped down to pet her, telling her that I loved her and that biting my heels was not an okay thing to do. It worked the very first time and she hasn't nipped my ankles since. She still follows me wherever I go, but now she walks beside me and licks my ankles.
The beautiful thing about a Zen Coffee meditation is that you can do it anywhere, anytime, in any situation you're in. You don't need to find a quiet place, close your eyes, and mindfully breathe. Simply think the words loving kindness. The words will instill a feeling of peace, calm, and love within you. Let loving kindness be your mantra that resonates within and through you, expanding into the world around you.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
We are all filled with good qualities of peace, love, joy, compassion, and kindness. When uncomfortable situations arise, we need to remind ourselves of these beautiful inner qualities that we all possess and can share with everyone around us and in every situation we are in. We can mindfully bring those inner qualities out into our world and spread a lot of loving kindness around. When you find yourself getting angry at someone or feeling frustrated in a particular experience, take a deep breath in. Just breathe for a moment or two. Be mindfully aware of how you're feeling and know that you have the ever-present choice to respond to that person or situation with loving kindness. Take a moment or two to breathe in and smell the coffee.
In my Zen coffee philosophy, stirring just a smidge of loving kindness into the coffee cup of all your experiences produces a perfect blend of calm coffee flavored with compassion. Breathe in the peaceful qualities that are within you and feel kindness toward the person who has made you angry or the situation that brought you stress. Breathe out that loving kindness that is within you.
Monday, July 7, 2008
You may be wondering how to meditate by coffee. How can caffeine and calm, poured into the same coffee cup create a peaceful state of mind? How can you meditate if you're all stressed out or jazzed up on coffee? Well, it's a koan... that's the nature of Zen.
A koan is a Zen Buddhist riddle that has no easy answer; it may be totally illogical in nature and it appears to be a paradox. A koan is a question that must be experienced in order to be understood. Zen and coffee don't seem to mix. Or do they? It seems they'd be completely opposite to one another, but part of the mystery of the koan is that they are truly in harmony.
What do you suppose the koan means? How do caffeine and calm mix together in a cup of coffee?