I drink coffee. But my coffee life is not as simple as it may sound. My coffee life may be richer than you imagine.
I buy freshly-roasted, whole coffee beans at a local shop where I recklessly invest precious time discussing with the owner the virtues of the various beans: the distant land from whence they come, the soil of their upbringing, their method of cultivation, their roasting styles and their freshness. Thus I bring my beans home with great pride and thankfulness.
Each morning I wake early and while my family sleeps, I begin my day by preparing my coffee. I delicately measure out a large handful of those lovingly chosen beans and place them into the holy crucible — my unique, ceramic, Japanese hand-grinder. I then take several awareness-filled minutes to hand-grind those sacred beans. The sound of the grinder fills those meditative minutes as the delicate beans slowly and gently become a rich, fine, brown, fragrant powder. My labor of love yields a sensual aromatic earth which magically transforms my kitchen into an expensive, warm, cozy cafe.
Then my church bell, the teapot, rings out to call me to the next step of the holy ritual. The hissing pot also wakes my dogs who slumber into my cafe to join me as I gently place my hand-ground alchemy into the chalice — my French-press. The stove is turned off, the water allowed to cool to the perfect temperature and the communion transformation is initiated as the attentively prepared water is gently poured into the chalice. Now, time. Time for the effort of those who graciously planted, picked, bagged, transported, roasted and sold me the trees’ offerings to become the elixir of my life.
I won’t bore you with the details of how I actually drink my coffee (a story in itself) — for you are perhaps not sympathetic to my religion. Indeed some people tell me my religion is delusional. They tell me that my experience is all in my head. They claim that their machine-ground, pre-packaged secular coffee tastes no different from mine — sacrilege! They have even challenged me to try a taste test, but I refuse. I would never give up the magic of my ritual. Even if somehow they momentarily tricked me into feeling their profane factory coffee is no different from my sacred brew, I know my life would lose deep flavor and meaning without my loving ritual. They can not understand — the taste is more than the components — it is the lived experience.
Conclusion: When we discuss religion with people, we often forget how the mind works and how people are served by their rituals and beliefs. This morning I intended to read and write about the Ramayana, but this analogy came to mind during my morning ritual and the blogging muses demanded keyboard time from me. I was unabashedly blatant about some of the parallels in the analogy but I left the rest for the reader to imagine. Hope you enjoyed it.