Sipping coffee and enjoying meditation – these are two experiences that bring many people joy and give them the energy needed to approach the day. Still, both experiences have very different ways of providing energy. As coffee does some physiological energizing, meditation energizes the mind. But do the physiological effects of coffee stand in the way of experiencing all of the benefits of meditation?
Whether or not coffee affects meditation is subjective and will take some experimentation to determine. The best way to discover whether or not coffee interferes with your meditating is to give up your morning coffee for a few weeks and see what differences you experience while meditating.
In this article, we will talk about a few things to consider when trying to determine the effects coffee has on your meditation practice. We will discuss some of the ways it may interfere with meditating and how it can enhance it, including a coffee meditation practice. Read on to know more about the ways coffee and meditation work together or against each other in your life.
Coffee and Meditation: Things to Consider
At the base of meditation is the practice of non-judgment- accepting things as they are, not thinking of them as good or bad. Instead, in meditation, you focus on your attitude and reaction toward different things, whether they are experiences, stimulus, or thoughts.
With that being said, it is important to note that if you choose to consume caffeine and meditate, that is neither good nor bad. And if you decide to give up coffee to dedicate more to your meditation practice, that is also neither good nor bad.
Below are some things you can consider when thinking about the purposes of coffee vs. meditation and the ways they may or may not work together.
Amount of Caffeine Consumption
The first thing to consider is whether you are drinking a healthy or an excessive amount of caffeine. If you are drinking an excessive amount of caffeine, you can likely guess this will not help your meditation practice.
Up to 400 milligrams of coffee is considered to be safe for healthy adults. That is equal to four cups of brewed coffee a day, equal to two tall drinks from Starbucks. Once you start to drink more than four cups a day, you can likely experience side effects like headache, insomnia, nervousness, fast heartbeat, and muscle tremors. Of course, none of these side effects will allow you to engage in a productive meditation.
But if you are drinking what is considered “a normal” amount, four cups of coffee a day or less, there is little evidence that would lead one to believe that this will interfere with a meditation practice.
Purpose of Coffee
There are several reasons people rely on their morning cup of coffee. Some people use it to give them their first burst of energy to start the day. For others, it is a psychological experience, allowing them to begin their day with a sense of calm, warmth, and routine.
Some people say they feel they can meditate more easily after drinking their first cup of coffee. This is because that small amount of caffeine allows them to engage in their meditation without falling asleep. If coffee is what is assisting you in being able to become centered and start your meditation, acknowledge that and do not question whether or not coffee and meditation contradict each other.
However, you also want to be sure you are getting enough rest. If you are using coffee as more of a medication, relying on it because you do not have healthy sleep hygiene, try to recognize sleep’s essential nature. Relying on things like coffee and meditation to bring you physical and mental energy will be a short-term solution, and working to improve your sleep habits will eventually become unavoidable.
Quality of Coffee
The quality of the coffee you drink will have noticeable effects on how you feel after drinking it. It is no question that if you drink a cup and feel jittery after, this will likely be distracting while meditating. After all, It is important to try to achieve as calm and still of a state as possible to meditate most productively.
If you feel jittery after coffee and while meditating, you may want to consider the quality of what you’re drinking. A possible reason why you’re feeling anxious or on edge is likely due to it not being fresh. Maybe the brewed coffee itself isn’t fresh, but beans or grounds that aren’t new also start to create rancid oils, which are responsible for the jitters.
If you want to drink a cup of coffee before meditating, be sure it is a freshly brewed cup. Ideally, you will be brewing coffee from beans that are freshly ground. This will give you the best chance to prevent any unsteadiness or jitters that is sometimes associated with caffeine.
To determine whether or not coffee is ruining your meditation, your best bet is to experiment. If you can, try to meditate before drinking coffee. See how it feels. Do you feel more centered? Can you focus on breathing more easily? Do you end your practice and feel the calming effects of meditation for a longer duration? Are you generally more calm and still? If this is what you experience, it becomes clear that coffee may be inhibiting you from experiencing the full benefits of meditation.
If you cut out coffee and meditate, are you finding yourself dozing off or distracted from your meditation? Are you finding it hard to wake up to dedicate your time to your practice? Are you left feeling drowsy through the rest of the day, even after meditating? If you answered yes to each one, then these are all clear signs that your coffee and meditation work well together.
Only you will be able to judge the role that coffee has on your meditation. Experience, acknowledge and accept the experience, and adjust your caffeine intake and meditation practice accordingly.
Can You Meditate While Drinking Coffee?
Sometimes coffee and meditation can become one. Doing a coffee meditation, which is simply a meditation while drinking coffee, can be a wonderful practice in mindfulness and a great addition to any morning routine. This is a beautiful way to allow your cup of coffee to enhance your meditation.
One way to have a coffee meditation is to honor your five senses as you brew and drink your coffee:
- Sound: Focus on the sound of coffee brewing, the slowness of the water seeping through the filter, focus on the sound of it dripping into the pot.
- Sight: Watch the warm steam rising from the cup of the coffee. Watch the movement as you pour the coffee into your cup or perhaps as you add cream.
- Touch: Feel the warmth of the cup in your hand. How does it feel?
- Taste: Focus on the taste of your coffee; see if you can discover any specific hints or flavors.
- Smell: Throughout this whole experience, focus on the aroma of your coffee. Again, can you discover any hints or flavors? How does the aroma make you feel?
Coffee meditation is an easy way to integrate meditation into your daily routine. And the rich experience that is coffee, from the tastes to the aroma of the beverage, makes it easy to acknowledge how it awakens the five senses.
Does coffee affect meditation?
Whether or not coffee interferes with your meditation is going to vary depending on things like the amount of coffee you drink, why you drink it, and the quality of your brew. But don’t automatically write-off drinking coffee and meditation as an oxymoron. Hopefully, this article gives you a better idea of the roles coffee and meditation play together in your life.