Wake up and smell it!

Pause

Step back from the busyness.

breathe

Gather your mind into the present moment.

take your time

Slowing down helps you to enjoy!

Using a drink bought from a shop (if you don’t drink coffee then replace with your favourite beverage), now is our opportunity to not only enjoy our cup of coffee but to experience it mindfully, and use the moments as our time to develop gratitude. We can take the chance to practise as soon as we enter the shop. If we tend not to buy drinks outside, apply and adapt the instructions creatively to the drink that we have at home.

The kind servers who prepare your coffee for you came to work today and are working hard so you can enjoy your drink. As you are waiting for them to make your drink, reflect upon their kindness so you can enjoy your coffee. Hold this mind of gratitude while you are waiting. This attitude transforms your entire waiting experience into a grateful meditation, which you can apply to all the times that you wait for any form of service.

As your coffee arrives, thank the person who gave it to you, take it somewhere relatively quiet, and sit down. Pause, enjoy several mindful breaths, start to reflect where the coffee has come from and contemplate all those who have been involved in the harvesting and transportation of the beans so you can sit and enjoy; you can also reflect on the water, and the milk and sugar if you take them.

Reflecting carefully on your coffee, you can see that for you to enjoy this experience you depend upon an incredible network across the world. Pause briefly and remember. Develop gratitude and appreciation. Then enjoy the taste of your coffee. Try to carry gratitude in your mind as you enjoy your entire drink. You can even mentally say thank you as you are drinking the coffee.

As you are about to finish your drink make the intention to carry the mind of gratitude into the rest of your day.

Most importantly with our mindful training is to try to practise and not worry too much, we don’t need to push and feel that we are doing something artificial; practise gently until we can have a natural experience.

When travelling in Laos, I took a trip to a coffee plantation. It was connected to a coffee shop in the town of Luang Prabang. The coffee shop was busy, popular with both locals and tourists from across the world for serving delicious tasting drinks and home-made delicacies, but also for selling fresh coffee beans from their plantation.

When we first sit in a coffee shop, it is rare to make a connection with the network of activity that leads to the coffee that we are drinking. Usually, we tend to focus on the ultimate outcome: the taste! And even then we can be distracted by other things in our life, preventing us from being fully present.

When I visited the Laos coffee shop, looking around, I could see many people just like myself involved in their daily activities while enjoying their coffee. It requires time, space, and reflection to bring gratitude into our experience. I tried to encourage this to grow by taking a visit to this coffee shop’s plantation the following day, around a 35 km drive from the shop.

I took a step back from the busyness and got to see where the coffee had come from; its growth from a small seed and the extensive work that goes into getting the good quality beans into one’s cup. As this was a small plantation, some of the sorting work was still carried out by hand, a painstaking process of quality control where each bean was hand-checked for size and colour by a group of workers sitting in the same positions all day.

It was a privilege and a real insight to see this process. When returning to the coffee shop and taking a coffee the next day, I was able to fully immerse myself in the invisible gratitude meditation of cause and effect. The coffee tasted even better by reflecting on the actions that were taken for me to be able to enjoy this delicious drink.
Through using our imagination and mindful awareness, we can try to remember the extensive network that we benefit from and thereby enrich all the moments in our life.

Notes and Discussion
How can you start to see the invisible network of kindness in the drinks that you enjoy daily?
Do you think that drinking with gratitude will increase the tastiness of the beverage that you are enjoying?
At the end of your day, write down five gratitudes.

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