By Lee Glazier
“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” – T.S. Elliot
I confess: I don’t know what a coffee spoon is.
Is it a particular type of spoon meant to measure out coffee grounds? Is it designed to mix sugar in with the black nectar? Is it just whatever spoon that we happen to use for coffee-related activities? I have no idea, Dudes, and I wanna keep the mystery alive, so I won’t Google it.
Anywho, uh, this is the first edition of a column-within-a-column called The Little Stuff. I’m just gonna take ordinary what-nots and write about how to, ya know, use mindfulness/abiding to appreciate them.
Appreciation is very Dude.
Lin Yutang said that, “To understand is to forgive.” That doesn’t really work in this context, but it’s a nice quote.
Not everyone digs coffee, and I guess that’s alright. It’s bitter. Of course we can always add different creamers to it. Actually, once we get the bitter part out of the equation, I can’t really understand how someone couldn’t like it, man. It’s fuckin’ awesome. It’s pretty much my drug of choice these days, since I’m old and boring now.
Coffee is salvation, Dudes.
I’m a minimalist, ya know. One of the cool things about that is you can buy a small amount of quality things, rather than a large amount of lower quality, uh, ya know, things. You can’t beat gourmet coffees. The second you open the bag, the scent immediately transports you to another world. Just lean into it—into that smell. Let your mind roll around in it like it’s a happy puppy in a mud patch. Then hold that breath, Dude, abide the pause. Then let it out, let it go.
I never use the automatic brew thing on the coffee maker because I really enjoy the whole process; it helps me start the day.
From the tiny click of the cabinet opening, to the soft crinkle of the bag, the hushing measuring cup rustling through the grounds—it’s fantastic. The half-dazed bare footfalls as I float toward the coffee maker. The golden folds of the filter, and the giggling water filling the pot—I can see it shimmering as the dim light above the sink plays across the room.
Movement is important too, Dudes. Really planting attention into the body’s motions from a first-person perspective. I love when it’s time to pour the water into the coffee maker; it’s always seemed Zen to me. The arm slowly raises as the water in pitcher or pot drops while the water in the machine rises. You can hear the tone change pitch, climbing with the water. Then, that satisfying plop of the lid falling shut on the machine.
Minutes pass, and the steady drip, drip drip putters around the kitchen. That dark, warm smell—always associated with morning—sprinkles itself in the air, totally warming up whatever mood might’ve been present before. Finally, it’s time to grab the cup. Its got a nice weight to it—solid, and full of space. The delight, the aroma, the babbling brook of dark roast flowing into the container.
I step outside, naked feet whispering down the stairs and into the driveway.
The 4 a.m. stars still shine overhead as Mars sinks in the West. Steam willows into the silent morning. I like to pause, ya know, before the first sip. I let attention melt over the whole moment like warm butter, taking it all in.
That’s called simultaneous attention. Instead of focusing on one thing, or jumping between things, the mind pays equal attention to everything at the same time. It’s pretty cool; I consider it one of the keys to abiding, Dudes.
At last, the sip. I can’t even go into detail here, because each experience is so personal and unique. No two people probably ever experience the same coffee the same way, and for me, each sip is different than the one before it. And like all sublime experiences, words, ya know, can’t quite touch it.
So, yeah, it’s all about attention, Dudes.
Playing with attention, trying to find that existential G-spot, ya know? It really ties the whole moment together. By focusing on just one thing, we can kinda flow into that one thing. By focusing on everything, everything flows into us.
It’s not a, ya know, ontological thing. I don’t dig beliefs, so I’m not gonna say that the coffee and I are one. But I can say that, when I’m abiding, there’s that experience of them being one, and I really enjoy being coffee.
“Dude” Lee Glazier is a Dudeist Priest, Zen adherent and Taoist enthusiast from Golden, Colorado. He likes reading, writing, hiking, taking baths, listening to classic rock, drinking White Russians, smoking, and having the occasional acid flashback. The only thing he truly believes is that everyone needs to slow down, mellow out, and unwad their underpants. He feels that that would solve all the world’s problems in a heartbeat. “Do you have the patience to let the mud settle and the water clear?”
Editor: Dana Gornall