:: zen and the art of drinking coffee ::
I suppose you know you're really addicted to something when you try to claim that it's part of your meditation practice, but really!! The process of preparing, pouring, and just plainly and purely enjoying a cup of coffee is a meditation for me.
Sometimes it's a shared experience with my boyfriend. We wake up, usually deliciously late as neither of our jobs follows the usual 9-5 timetable (though the daily grind in Hong Kong is more like 8-8, if not later; yikes!), and I ask, "Shall I make some coffee?" to which he almost always answers, "Sure, why not?"
Other times, it's a quiet experience of solitude.
Either way, it's one of my favorite ways to start the day or pause in the afternoon, and I much prefer brewing my own coffee (with love) at home. I pour some cold, filtered water into the kettle and prepare the French press. I choose an organic bean of the day to grind...will it be one of the specially sent blends from my friends in Santa Monica - from Groundwork or Urth - or the uber pricey (but totally worth it) Jamaican Blue Mountain...? After the kettle sends out its whistle, I wait a few minutes before pouring because the temperature of the water should be about 90 degrees Celsius (that's about 190 degrees Fahrenheit for you Americans). I grab the carton of skim milk from the fridge and the container of Maui raw sugar. I usually stand waiting in the kitchen, looking out the window; sometimes a friendly, chirpy sparrow sits on the sill.
After a few minutes, I intuitively sense that the coffee is ready for consumption. I prepare his (a spoonful of milk and a dash of sugar) and mine (a dash of milk and a spoonful of sugar), take his to him in his study, and take mine onto the couch, snuggling into our oversized cushions. I feel almost like a kid on Christmas morning; I know I have a somewhat mischievous look on my face. Before sipping, I inhale. I offer gratitude. I am present.
With the first taste, I feel a soothing warmth, comfort, and peace start flowing through me. My mind feels at ease, my breath naturally deepens, I smile. I daresay I feel inspired. You'll never see me multi-tasking with a cup of coffee, distracted, distanced, downing it on the go. No, that cup is my drishti and I am certainly strengthening my ability to direct my energy and have one-pointed focus.
I believe the combination of coffee's mental and physical effects and my presence of mind when drinking coffee all contribute to my overall experience of coffee consumption. My mood is elevated, my heart is lifted, which means yeah, I feel a bit high!
So here it is, confession of a yogini: coffee is my crack, my Kryptonite, my Achille's heel. But as my lovely friend Erin recently reminded me, coffee contains antioxidants and potassium, so it can't be all bad. As long as I stay hydrated and watch for any unhealthy degree of dependency, I am happy to accept this "imperfection" of my yogi self.
And yes, of course, I just finished a delicious morning brew...