A koan is a Zen Buddhist riddle that is used to focus the mind during meditation; it is something that has no easy answer and may be totally illogical in nature. It’s something you can’t easily wrap your mind around. A koan is a question that must be experienced in order to be understood. A koan reveals itself in a moment of satori, a state of enlightenment or spiritual insight where an intuitive, instant understanding comes to you without words or thought processes. This is where Zen comes into your coffee.
You may still be thinking that Zen and coffee don’t really mix. Or do they? Caffeine and calm, poured into the same coffee cup, seem to be totally contradictory to one another. That’s the koan, the seemingly unsolvable mystery or riddle. Perhaps if you meditate on it a bit while sipping your coffee, the answer will come to you. Zen and coffee are opposites that would appear to be never in balance or harmony. Zen is powerful and peaceful, gentle and strong at the same time. Coffee is strong and soothing, relaxing and invigorating at the same time.
Can you be Zen-like and meditate as you’re zipping through your daily life on a caffeine high? Can you be fully here now in the present moment when your mind is scattered in several different places at once, going in various directions? Can coffee help you gather your thoughts and clear your mind as you calm and center yourself? I say yes. Yes, because your mind is always connected to the essence of your inner nature. You can center your awareness within the peaceful essence of your inner nature as you embrace the Zen of coffee.
Zen meditation is pure and simple; it’s accomplished by sitting quietly, clearing and stilling your conscious mind by not allowing your thoughts to wander or intrude while letting your mind empty itself. If a conscious thought enters your awareness, you acknowledge it as merely a thought and gently let it go, without attaching any feelings to it, giving it any importance, or thinking about it.
You simply allow your mind to be quiet. The objective is to reach a state of nirvana [the attainment of enlightenment and the freeing of yourself from attachment to worldly things] nothingness where you transcend the physical and you’re aware of everything, understanding it completely within your mind as you achieve a state of divine awareness of your inner nature.
A more active form of Zen meditation embraces mindfulness—your thoughts are completely in the present moment, you’re totally aware of where you are, what you’re doing, how you’re feeling, and you’re accepting what you experience without judgment. This keeps you centered and connected with your current emotions and experiences.
Mindfulness is first accomplished by simply breathing and being aware that you’re breathing. Your breath brings your awareness into the present moment, centering you completely into right here, right now. The objective is to again reach a level of nirvana [the attainment of a completely enjoyable moment that provides the embracing of an ultimate experience of harmony or joy] which allows you to tune into the calm, peaceful essence of your inner nature.
You can incorporate both forms of mindful meditation into a Zen coffee. How often, while drinking a cup of coffee, have you spaced out, letting your thoughts go completely, emptying your mind and simply enjoying your coffee and a peaceful feeling of just being? You were mindfully meditating, filling your mind completely in the present moment, letting go of all other thoughts except what you were experiencing with your coffee.
Perhaps you focused on the warmth of the cup in your hand and tuned into the aroma and steam rising from the coffee. Perhaps the warmth of the coffee soothed your spirit. Perhaps you perceived the steam as an ethereal wisp of your inner nature, letting the aroma of the coffee and the peacefulness of your inner essence completely engulf you.
Or perhaps you drank it down without a second thought. Even quickly slurping a cup of coffee provides you with an opportunity to transcend your physical nature and the everyday world for a time, if you will take a mindful moment to be aware of and enjoy your coffee. Drinking coffee in a Zen moment transports you into a meditative frame of mind where you are completely in the present moment. Just like the steam rising from your hot coffee, you can rise into the ethereal essence of your inner nature.
Quietly sipping your coffee offers you time for yourself, a nurturing respite from your busy lifestyle. The quiet time you spend for reflection and introspection brings relaxation and refreshment to your mind; it offers you a nice and much-needed breather to get into the calm, peaceful essence of you. You can sit in solitude in a Zen-like state of meditation with your coffee to ease and erase the stresses and strains of your everyday experiences with the warmth, taste, and aroma of your coffee as you nurture the inner essence of you.
The quiet, meditative moments you spend in this manner bring you peace and serenity. It is here, in this quiet time and meditative place of peace and harmony within yourself, that you become in tune with your inner essence, with the true nature of you. This works wonderfully well if you can find a few moments for yourself to sit in silence and just be with yourself. If you can’t, you can still tune into yourself with a cup of coffee in any situation you find yourself in.
This is how the Zen of coffee works. You can achieve many peaceful moments of harmony while you’re on the go and racing around, running through life. Coffee gives you a quiet time, a moment or two every now and then, scattered here and there, to de-stress and drink in the mindfulness of Zen; to relax and reflect; to go within your inner essence to replenish yourself and refresh your mind.
Zen Coffee is for people on the go; it offers an active approach to mindfully meditating in every moment of your busy life. It offers you many ways to bring peace and a sense of serenity into all your experiences and activities, to be in harmony with them. As you race through life with your coffee cup in hand, you’ll find many mindful moments to meditate.
This book uses coffee as a metaphor for meditating and tuning into your inner nature as you zip through the Zen of daily life to tune into and embrace the peaceful essence of your inner self. It offers you ways to find a few moments every now and then to relax, whether you’re alone or with other people, whether you’re feeling calm or are in a stressful situation. There are meditations you can engage in with your eyes open and a cup of coffee in your hand.
Zen Coffee shows you how to tune into and be in touch with your inner nature as it invites you to drink in the Zen of your spirit. Tuning into the essence of your calm, peaceful inner nature is as quick and easy as drinking your coffee and being mindful as you race through the ups and downs of your experiences. A few moments of mindfulness scattered here and there puts the caffeine calm of Zen coffee into your life.
Copyright 2008 by Gloria Chadwick
Published by Mystical Mindscapes
ISBN: 978-1-883717-62-9; 6 x 9 softcover; 156 pages
Print book is Available on Amazon... $9.95
ebook available on Kindle, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, and Nook... $3.99
To read more excerpts, click one of the links above, then click "Look Inside" on the book cover.