Thursday, February 07, 2008

Coffee And Responding To Daily Life

I got a new coffee maker this week. Those that know me well understand that I love coffee. I am still in mourning over the kidnapping of my personal coffee pot by Building Management last year. I did recover it but it now sits at home on a shelf in my laundry room. We were once so close. Every morning when I got to work and flipped the switch, it would brew me aromatic cups of caffeine delights. The new coffee maker was free with my subscription to Gevalia Coffee. This is a mail order coffee company that provides excellent coffees from around the world. I used to get it in the past until money got tight and I realized I was drinking away about half my paycheck. Good coffee is not cheap. Have you been in a Starbucks lately? Anyway, I am still not rich but I'm back on the Gevalia express. Drinking coffee is the only acceptable vice that I have left. Coffee, like music, makes just about anything better. I love to sip my coffee while drinking to the monastery early in the mornings. I love my coffee while sitting in my chair with the newspaper on a Saturday morning. I love my coffee in the evenings while listening to music and reading a good book. I love my coffee while the mug warms my hands as I stare into space. As the musician Robert Fripp once said, "Me and a book is a party. Me and a book and a cup of coffee is an orgy".

Back in the 70's I studied and practiced something called Transcendental Meditation. Although I did not learn it directly from the Maharishi, he was the one that made it popular worldwide. He was also famous in the 60's for teaching it to the Beatles. He died yesterday at age 91.

Life is full of ups and downs. Some days all is great and wonderful and beautiful. Other days are not so great, maybe the weather stinks, and you don't feel particularly good. How does one deal with it all? I suppose there's no one way to deal with it. Over the years my spirit has calmed down and mellowed to the point that my mood level doesn't vary much in either direction. On the surface I may seem to have little emotional reaction to anything. Yes, I have a rebellious nature and I sometimes struggle with suppressing my anger but 98% of the time I am able to simply respond to life as it comes to me. When everything is great, I enjoy it. When life is not so great, I deal with it and move on. I can't remember being depressed and I rarely worry. In his book entitled The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama says, "Why worry? Nothing was ever solved by worrying about it. Instead of worrying, use that energy to solve the problem". Most stress, for the average person, is not a direct result of what is happening. It is a result of our reaction to what is happening. I have been making a personal effort to not react or overreact to what happens to me or what goes on around me. These days I am trying to respond rather than react or overreact. A response is a less emotional and more thought out reply. Our human emotions can be wonderful feelings but they can also get the best of us and occasionally cause us trouble. I don't know if this is a dysfunctional coping strategy or not but sometimes when things aren't going my way, I just wait it out. In my life I have out waited many unpleasant experiences. I call it patience but some just think I am stubborn.

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