I have been a coffee drinker for as long as I can remember. This addiction probably started in college when I was, to quote my Dad, “burning the candle at both ends.” Needless to say, I cannot start my day without my cup of coffee. Until now, I had always viewed this morning coffee ritual as a means to an end– the goal being to send a quick jolt of caffeine coursing through my veins to ready me for the day. I wasn’t thinking particularly about the experience of drinking the coffee, as I was solely focused on getting that caffeine buzz as quickly as possible.
Recently, as part of my 2021 commitment to dive deeper into meditation, I have discovered how to enjoy my coffee mindfully. I was inspired by a guided “Coffee Meditation” by Pause to be Present founder, Cheryl Brause. In this meditation, which has forever changed how I drink my morning coffee, I have learned how to be fully present with my cup of coffee and to just enjoy being in the moment.
Mindful coffee drinking may sound like an oxymoron– after all, coffee revs you up and meditation calms you down. However, as Gloria Chadwick, author of “Zen Coffee: A guide to Mindful Meditation,” points out, by focusing on your coffee– and making it a special time to meditate– it can actually help you feel peaceful and relaxed. A guided coffee meditation may sound something like this:
Feel the warmth of the smooth mug between your palms.
Let the warmth seep into your hands and radiate through your body.
Watch the steam rise from your cup.
Notice the coffee’s creamy light brown color.
Breathe in the aroma. You can almost taste it now.
Bring the mug up to your mouth, feeling the mug against your lips.
Gently, take a small sip of your coffee.
Distinguish the slightly sweet, nutty flavor.
Feel the warm liquid on your tongue and in your mouth.
Allow this warmth to flow down your throat and into your belly.
Let the warmth and the taste of that coffee soothe you.
As you drink your coffee, take the next few minutes to just enjoy being where you are… fully present and engaged, delighting in each sip.
This entire experience of blissfully relishing my coffee takes less than five minutes. I find it somewhat startling how just one sip of coffee can be so powerful– how it can fill me with such profound presence and awareness. Never again will I ferociously and mindlessly inhale my morning coffee. Interestingly, with this mindful approach to morning coffee, the caffeine still awakens me and helps me begin my day, yet the way I approach the day feels different, as I am now filled with a sense of calm, thoughtfulness and gratitude.
Savor your morning coffee (or your tea, if you’re not a coffee drinker) and savor your life… beginning with this moment, right now. Slow down and smell the coffee!