The other day, I treated myself to a large cup of convenience store coffee with hazelnut creamer. The flavor was both satisfying and familiar. This is not my normal fare. I am by and large a green tea drinker these days, with an occasional cappuccino splurge from the city’s best locally owned coffee shop. Today, however, something inside of me longed for convenience store coffee. The coffee sat in my car in an insulated cup while I took a hike with my dog. Somehow, when I returned to my car, the coffee’s flavor seemed even more satisfying and delicious. After a few generous sips, I felt a wave of remembrance of my mother, accompanied by a very sweet feeling of love and missing her. It was a moment where my whole body felt the memory – a memory of feeling safe and happy with my mom, who was nurturing, kind, supportive, and funny – a woman who loved to drink Folger’s coffee. When I was a child, I often walked with my mom over to our neighbors’ house, where she would visit with her friend and drink cup after cup of Folgers coffee. Sometimes, I got my own small serving of coffee, made especially delicious with a generous addition of milk and sugar. Today, almost 40 years later, the taste of the convenience store coffee tinged with the sweetness of hazelnut creamer, transported me into a state of loving remembrance.
This remembrance became an opportunity to practice meditation. Through the teachings and practices of Shambhava Yoga, I have come to understand that the quality of love and sweetness evoked in me (by the coffee and remembering the best of my relationship with my mother), is actually coming from a place within me. It’s within me all the time. One of the centering practices of the Vijnana Bhairava states “On joyously seeing a long lost friend, permeate this joy.” Remembering my long lost friend, my mom, became an opening to connect with the inner joy and sweetness that is always there. And I did. I breathed gently into the sweetness, and watched it expand a little. Soon, the tinge of sadness associated with the memory of my mom (who is no longer here to share coffee dates) melted away, and the sweetness remained. Now, that is really something. This is just one of the gifts of meditation practice. If a cup of convenience store coffee can lead you to bliss, what else might be possible? I can’t wait to find out.