Mindfulness is everywhere. You can attend a course, read a book, or you can simply sip on a cup of coffee. Ok, I accept that perhaps some pre-reading might be helpful, but it is amazing where one can apply such simple methods in order to realise transformational change…
Roll back to last week and some of my old anxieties were starting to raise their ugly head again. I guess ‘ugly’ may not be the right word in the context of being mindful, but that they were bothering me is a fact.
In the context of coffee being a stimulant, it’s probably the last thing on your mind when a bit of anxiety is floating around.
I remember reading somewhere about being mindful when drinking coffee. Most people don’t think twice about it – they drink it habitually, like it’s part of the daily routine – to wake them up, to get their day going, or simply to act as a social lubricant. To be honest, I had avoided coffee for a long time, as I felt it didn’t agree with me, however a random incident made me think twice about my experience and relationship with it…
Instead of getting mindful with the ‘raisin’, as they teach on mindfulness-based stress reduction courses, I tried the same thing with my daily coffee at my new local Aussie haunt in the City, ‘Beany Green‘. Better still, I brought out the heavy artillery and went for the equivalent of the bazooka of coffee – the ‘double espresso.’ What happened next was remarkable (in my humble mind).
First, I observed the coffee, letting it swirl around a little in the espresso cup, watching as the brown coffee film floated around the surface, sometimes in the shape of a swirling fan or other object from outer space. I smelt the aroma of the roasted coffee beans flowing. This was coffee at its best.
As I sipped the espresso and tasted the coffee in my mouth, I noted its rather bitter-sweet flavour rolling around on my tongue and then down the back of my throat… and then it was gone – the espresso aficionado’s delight is certainly fleeting.
Moments later I realised that the anxiety that had been present beforehand, had in fact left me. I was dumbfounded. Mindfulness had struck me down and left me for dead. How dare it come and go like that without saying good bye! Well, that is it when it comes to mindfulness – you often don’t realise its subtle effects, until its gone.
How many of us really consciously drink that cup of coffee like this? Not many I suspect – our minds and our lives are often elsewhere at the time of indulgence.
The irony of all this is that in the context of tackling an anxiety disorder, coffee is the last thing you should indulge in. However, if we really be mindful about our practice, we can find joy and delight in even the simplest of life’s pleasures, allowing us to ‘detach’ from the loop of anxiety in our bodies and minds, even if the very substance you are indulging in is one of anxiety’s best friends.