Coffee Making Zen

It’s a routine. Routines are ripe candidates for meditation.

They’re familiar enough that we can do them without thinking about what we’re doing. This makes it easier to view and appreciate them in a whole new way.

Feet thudding across the tiles turn into hands reaching for a stainless steel pot. It’s hefty. Formidable. The lid unlocks with a smooth motion, and I gently rest the empty vessel in the empty sink. Lifting the gleaming handle, water streams out. Everything’s shining and glimmering in the morning sun. Errant beams make their way with a rainbow fringe through a neglected wine glass onto the counter top.

My feet pop back into existence, and I’m carried toward the cabinet as the gurgling in the pot slowly raises in pitch. Smooth motions undo a bungee cord that keeps the cats from opening it. One filter left, a rough brown cone. My fingers slip in and unfold it as I drift through the light back toward the coffee maker.

It fits perfectly in the… basket… thing. Back to the cabinet, I lightly remove the lid from the tub and breathe deep the rich, brown aroma of fresh grounds. One scoop. And another one scoop. And a half-scoop. I’d add more, but this isn’t just for me.

The grounds make a hushed whooshing sound as they avalanche against the paper before puddling into a mound at the bottom. I can hear the water overflowing. The note has leveled out at its peak, and it’s accompanied by trickles and splashes as the water meets the metal.

Another quick smell before I tuck the tub away.

Pushing down on the lever, I raise the pot and pour a little excess water out. It shines before swirling down the drain to unseen corridors. Safe travels. Tipping the pot, water fountains into the chamber, picking up the rising refrain it sang in the sink.

The lid almost feels weightless in my hand, and a quick spin sticks it in place. Pot on the burner, I push the machine back against the wall, and tap tap the ON button.

The room gradually fills with the scents and sounds of a morning in full brew.

Each moment of our lives is packed full of little details that we tend to overlook. These details are what give us perspective. They get us out of our heads and into the world. They calm our hearts, focus our minds, and prevent us from getting sucked into this or that drama—whether real or imagined.

The little things make true love and true understanding possible. Life is an ongoing intimacy that’s always at hand, but we generally ignore it in favor of having a long-distance relationship with it. So we miss it, even though it’s never gone anywhere.

Sometimes we might even hold ourselves back by thinking that we’ll miss missing it. Just watch a sunrise without wandering off to the sunset, and you’ll see that that isn’t the case.

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