Today’s Word from Reverend Dave…

Often in the morning, I will go in and pour a cup of coffee with cream and sweetener and take my first gulp before my eyes are even wide enough to see the sun outside, much less be mindful of what I am doing. But generally, as that sweet, bitter, warm goodness flows down my throat, it awakens my body and entices my soul.

Mindfulness is a spiritual practice. At its basic core it simply means paying attention. It is also about allowing that moment of paying attention to inform your soul and your spirit to a deeper reality. Almost anything can be made into a spiritual practice, from feeding a newborn baby to bathing a loved one who has just passed out of this world, and everything in between.

The mindfulness in my cup of coffee begins by thinking about the components, the most important of which, of course, is the coffee bean itself. Have you ever stopped to think where that bean was grown and how it was grown? Many of us remember the commercial with Juan Valdez, deep on the hillsides of South America, with his donkey, climbing up to patiently pick coffee beans. But it might surprise you to learn that of the 5 top producers of coffee, only 2 of the countries are in South America. Asia and Africa take the other 3 spots. And though unbelievably romantic, most coffee picking and production is not done by single farmers out with their burro. Pay attention to where your coffee beans come from.

Water is another important component of coffee. Stop to think where your water comes from. Water is an element that unites all life and all spiritualities. Religions all have elements of a water ritual such as baptism, cleansing, and blessing that are important. The Water Cycle is one of those science lessons many of us remember. The water we drink has been cycling through the clouds, rain, seas, and ice caps for as long as the earth has been around. Take a moment and wonder not only where your water comes from, but also where has your water been?

For some this meditation might be over, but for me I have to take a moment to wonder where my cream and sweetener come from. What farmers out there are raising their cows to give me this luscious goodness that makes my coffee so…creamy? And depending what sweetener you might use, you might wonder in what country the sugar plantation might be, who was it that developed your artificial sweetener, or whose hive did your honey come from? These are important details to think about and consider.

All of these people came together to give us our morning drink, not to mention the store workers, the transportation people, and even people who put your coffee machine together. Perhaps you buy your drink from a vendor or restaurant. You then add in the person who made and served your coffee. It is always a good idea to thank them. So many people come together to give us this morning drink. It is mind boggling and spirit informing.

There is one final piece that is always important to me, which mug do I use this morning? I have quite a collection of mugs, and each one has a story. It might have been a place I visited, or the person who gave it to me. Sometimes the mug is based on the size, but most often it is based on who or what I want to remember that day.

It’s a simple mindfulness exercise. You really can do it for any aspect of your life. Just take a moment and think deeply. The spiritual connections will surprise you.

Reverend Dave Bieniek