Luckily, in regards to the title, I make no sense either, which is why I have no inhibitions whatsoever for trying things out that seem a bit silly. And so I just finished a 15 minute or so bout of coffee meditation.
Meditation is widely seen as a relaxation tool; a way to calm and ground yourself in a world where calm is hard to come by. I’m of the opinion that there is much more you can do with meditation than that. For me it is indeed a means to relax, but it’s also a creative power, a sleeping aid, a concentration booster and among other things played a key role in the late stages of my fight with depression a few years back.
Nonetheless, the combination of coffee and meditation seems at first rather far-fetched. A couple of google searches revealed to me that the majority of the meditation community (but not all) are against drinking coffee before or during meditation, and many completely remove caffeine from their lives. I gave it a go anyway.
My ‘procedure’ was simple. I sat down on a chair, stuck on some ambient music, and held a cup of fresh coffee in my hands. As is usual for my meditations, I took my breathing under control, and focused on my awareness of my surroundings.
This is where the coffee changed the meditation slightly. when one focuses on their awareness, the strongest outside influences come first and one thing we can all agree on is that coffee has a pretty intense smell. You don’t usually get the smell of coffee to focus on in meditation, or really anything that intense, so naturally this was all new. I spent a while just focusing on the smell, and the warmth of the cup.
With higher levels of concentration than usual simply on the smell, a new depth comes from the smell. Often on a pack of coffee there will be some fairly pretentious tasting notes on the back (yes, I see the hypocrisy in this comment), but generally our own comments on the said coffee whilst drinking it will be “Oh, that’s a nice coffee”. With a meditative focus on that smell, you notice there are indeed numerous levels to the smell.
Drinking the coffee was essentially the same story and there is little need to elaborate. i was simply able to notice different levels to the drink to usual. The difference came a few minutes later as the caffeine started to have an effect. And it’s that caffeine that surely would ruin the whole idea of ‘relaxation’ that is usually seen as one of the main aims of meditation.
The result was more that coffee and meditation complemented each other. The coffee offered something to focus on, and gave a new experience of awareness – something I believe to be important in meditation. That given focus allowed the meditation to progress to a deeper level more quickly. As more caffeine hit, ability to concentrate increased. Increased concentration further increased awareness.
By the end I felt excessively aware and grounded, wonderfully peaceful and much more renewed than just coffee alone would offer.
Some of the ‘negative’ effects of each appeared countered too. Meditation’s habit of inducing sleepiness was countered by the caffeine, and Coffee’s favourite trick of putting you on edge was countered by the calming nature of meditation.
I would say therefore, that this seemingly silly combination is actually a match made in heaven.