Coffee Spiritual

this post is about finding meaning and inspiration in the little moments we steal to ourselves
Late in 2008 I came across an article on a hallucinogenic tea called Ayahuasca (I wrote this one), who’s claim to fame was that it was legalized in connection to specific holy rituals. At the time I pondered how individual rights could be expanded by connection to religious freedoms, over and above what less religious folks could legally enjoy. If you look up the polar opposite of organized religion on the web you’ll see me, but this doesn’t imply a lack of spirituality. What resonates most with me now is the spiritual nature of consuming certain foods or beverages, and the rituals we practice when doing so.

This morning I reverently listened to the sounds of machines percolating, in an otherwise silent 7-11. As I gazed over the eyes of a half dozen other patrons, something simple yet miraculous dawned on me. Each of us was taking part in a deeply comforting ritual. The pure act of preparing our morning coffees and teas contained a chorus of meaning. After experiencing a dozen or two books on Buddhism I feel confident recognizing meditation, even in a tiny guarded moment of our overloaded lives. The act of pouring and mixing our morning beverages is something Starbucks can’t quite mimick (baristas pour, we mix – and it’s always in a rush). In the depths of our busy culture we’ve liberated precious moments to serve our spiritual needs. Nearly all 7-11s, Dunkin Donuts, and Starbucks in my area know me on a first name basis, but I’m not just a coffee junky. The act of preparing and drinking it brings meaning to my existence, and a calm reverence to my days.

It’s Not Just Coffee

Tea time echoes throughout the British isles, India, China and Japan. Friend and cofounder (Chief Hacknical Wizard of Victus Media) Tyler Gillies began exploring the depths of meaning in tea just a few months back (he even made oatmeal with it, my coffee won’t go there). Friends I met on Fredland ( Arnold Waldstein and Andy Swan have professed meaning in consumption on numerous occassions. Arnold takes great pleasure and satisfaction in his wine, and shares his reverence and discoveries with others. Andy is an outspoken champion and shares his exuberance for Pappy (Van Winkle Bourbon, his favorite 23). He describes the experience as a victory lap.

How and where do you squeeze spiritual into each day?

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  • Dave Pinsen

    The order relaying ritual in a busy Starbucks, with orders repeated for confirmation, reminds me of the similar ritual in submarine movies. I keep half-expecting someone in Starbucks to preface an order with, “On the 1MC …”

    Tea time is a brilliant idea. For all the lip service given to collaboration in the work place, creativity, and productivity, what would spark that better than letting everyone recharge and mingle together in a civilized way every afternoon?

  • Mark Essel

    Hope we can meet up this week (planning interviews Thursday afternoon downtown at Vladimir's starting 2-3) may be in other spots during the day if Howard, Chris, or Fred prefer interviews at their locations.

    Would enjoy finding out more about your submarine days :)

  • awaldstein

    Hi Mark

    Can't tell you how much value and fun I get from my wine blog. I approach each bottle as a story of place and/or people and has let me make friends all of the world.

    And of course, I am now conversant in deep discussions of the value of indigenous yeasts ;) Fun stuff. And not to mention the packages of wine that I receive asking me to taste and comment!

  • Laurent Boncenne

    There's a ritual in many things just as if there was a somewhat personalized pattern in doing it.
    The more I think of it, the more I'm keen to sharing it with others. The joy of drinking a good green tea/wine/whisky or even coffee is more to me in how it lets me think and escape for a second of that time.

  • Charlie Crystle

    i get up at 4:30 to code. prepping the coffee is a meditation.

  • Mark Essel

    Thinking about you coding at 4:30am is good inspiration.

    Now to get cracking myself (procrastinating at dayjob today, need to focus).

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