Anything to Get You Through the Day
I wake up in the morning and the view from my window of the fields, the mountains and cows and horses is a wonderfully inspiring sight! No matter how inspiring it is, however, I still have to get up and start the coffee maker. It's my ritual. It's my habit. And it's something I find it very hard to do without.
If I don't get my coffee I miss it. I don't know whether that's a physical thing or a mental thing but I definitely feel there's something missing from my day if I go without. I think that coffee is just the start of a long list of things I use to change my state. When I sit down and start to think about the things I do I can see the patterns of things I use to create the moods I want. It makes me wonder if I really need them or if I could find alternatives.
The Time for Change
I remember seeing a post on Facebook once where a meditation guru was talking about stimulants. He actually spoke about coffee in some detail. He said it's OK to want to change your state and it's OK to drink coffee to do it. But the problem is when you keep taking more and more of it to keep that state. That sounds like any kind of drug. When you get dependent on it you just have to keep feeding the habit.
The interesting thing for me is that I'd never really thought of coffee as a mind altering substance. But I suppose anything that changes your state falls into this category.
Food for Thought
Another thing I love to do is cook. Any meal that takes more than a few minutes to prepare is a good candidate for a bit of meditative cooking for me. If it takes one or more hours then so much the better.
Appropriately this means that some of the best meals I enjoy cooking are Indian meals. In general it seems that Indian cooking needs a lot of slow frying "until golden" or simmering to bring out the full flavour of the spices. It's so colourful that it's also a joy to look at. And the tastes..... Hm.....
If a meal only takes a few minutes to prepare then I like to take my time over presenting it properly on the plate. Even if it's only for myself, it's worth it to turn the minor event into a moment of peaceful reflection.
It's the act of turning the thing I physically ingest, the food, into something I mentally ingest, the presentation, that makes me realize that I don't need to be eating something to change my state. Looking out of the window at the mountains and the wildlife fills me with as much joy as the biggest glass of red wine. Staring at a gorgeous sunrise over the beautiful west Cork vista inspires me in a way that no double chocolate chip muffin will ever achieve. And listening to Peter Gabriel's song Biko fills me with more spine tingling emotion than any bag of popcorn.
Cup of Plenty
So there's actually plenty of opportunity to fill my cup of plenty from the wonderfully inspiring mind altering images that occur naturally around me. I don't need to stock up on chocolate or alcohol. Having said all that, the guru I spoke of earlier did also say that it's OK to keep enjoying the stimulating effect of coffee. I can still have that coffee and I can be aware of complementing my state altering resources with tools that address all the modalities of taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing. So I guess it's OK to admit that all these things I look at, especially the sun rising over cork...
...they all seem to look just that little bit more lovely when I'm cradling a hot and steaming cup of strong coffee! 3:)