I love coffee. Unlike many coffee drinkers, I like it enough to take it black, no sweetener.
(I confess to liking the occasional bit of spice – ginger and chilli, for example. But my default brew is straight from the plant).
Also, I drink it because I like it. I’m lucky enough to not rely on the caffeine hit. Coffee is a treat to be savoured, not a biological requirement.
It’s tasty and good for you. And, boy, do people love it.
It’s funny, then, that people do their best to ruin it.
Coffee is bitter, so people add things to it. Sugar, sweetener, milk. All agents designed to make the coffee palatable.
Me? I think coffee is palatable enough. And I think of the Taoist practice of consuming bitter herbs to cleanse your system and kill parasites.
The bitterness in coffee is the point of coffee. It doesn’t need balancing or masking. It’s a rich, bold indulgence that sets your senses free. Sweet coffee defies its own truth and essence.
It’s about variety. There’s room in life for sweet and creamy, bitter and sour, salty and refreshing. Your spectrum goes beyond ‘sweet’ and ‘kinda sweet’. Bitterness is good, whether the Taoists are right or it just refreshes you.
“But I like sweet things!”
Me, too. Thanks to black coffee, things like berries, coconut, even some vegetables taste sweet to me. This is not in spite of liking bitter things – it’s because of it. Once you know the darkness, any light is bright enough.
Although it sounds like the beginning of a joke, I like my meditation how I like my coffee:
Caffeine and napping can leave you feeling irritable or tired. Meditation, in my experience, is a smoother high. It doesn’t always work but it’s far more effective. In my case, I’d guess that meditation is at least three times more likely to leave me focused and energised than coffee or a nap.
If you listen to people talk about meditation, it sounds all roses and rainbows. With expectations like this, no wonder so many people quit. The truth is that meditation goes wrong. It’s hard work. Some days your mind just won’t settle. Other days it veers towards anger or sadness.
And that’s fine. More than that – it’s great! A major benefit of regular practice is learning to cope with distraction and negativity. Training your focus and emotion is even more powerful when these are scattered and unwieldy.
Besides, even a ‘failed’ meditation session leaves you better off than no meditation at all.
Or with friends!
I bet there are over 7 billion ways to make coffee – enough for a favourite style each. Meditation is the same. There are popular approaches, uncommon approaches and simply plain weird approaches. But, hey, you don’t have to answer to me or anyone else. If it works for you, do it.
In my earlier days, I went through a phase of meditation to punk music. It did what I needed it to do (though I doubt I’ll ever go back to that).
Don’t let anyone judge you for your taste.
It’s possible to get fancy with apps, mantras, music, binaural beats and equipment. These things are great for beginners and pros looking to break the monotony.
There are great ones out there. If you have a favourite, use it. If not, have a look around my site. If you struggled with this in the past or are unsure how to start, try my hypnotically crafted meditations. These guide you to an inner state of focus, whether you’re a meditator or not. Experiment with them and compare your results.
The main thing is to start. Why hesitate with something so healthy for your mind?