Caio Coffee

Coffee cupThe caffeine in coffee was doing me in. I couldn’t sleep at night and my body was restless, unable to lie still while in bed. It took me a while to realize it was the caffeine. I don’t consider myself to be a heavy drinker (of any liquids or spirits, for that matter) so I missed the connection. Three cups of coffee a day and I was lying awake at night? Yup. So, I quit drinking coffee. Now I sleep the whole night through and awaken in the morning much better rested.

That was easy! Direct cause and effect. Easy correlation. Give it up.

But, as many of you know, it’s not that easy. What element of an encounter turns an easy decision into a difficult one? Oftentimes, it’s back-story. The back-story adds context that can make it more difficult to give up something I enjoy and even love. Coffee has back-story for me, although not in the way you might think.

Here’s the first element of back-story for coffee and me.

I’m not a lover of coffee per se, but I am a lover of being seated at a café round with a hot latte to savor and free time to pursue a train of thought or to be in deep conversation with a friend. Soothing, yet evocative, seated with coffee and conversation compels me to stay in that moment for as long as possible.

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Be Where You Are

I was hiking my way to the cave located on the edge of a frothy, turbulent ocean eddy that pounded incessantly on rock off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The cave had mentored me for years.

On this day, I scrambled over volcanic rock the size of barrel cactus, moving ever upwards to get to the cave that was situated just out of sight of the tide pools and blow hole on the east side of the island. The climb would put me at thirty feet above the turbulent waves that crashed onto rocks lodged into the tiny beachhead like a fruit basket of papaya, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

As I clambered across the rocks and then descended the last volcanic outcrop on the cliff side that prevented swimmers at the tide pools from seeing the cave, I sighed with anticipation.

I was hiking my way to the cave located on the edge of a frothy, turbulent ocean eddy that pounded incessantly on rock off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Oahu. The cave had mentored me for years.

On this day, I scrambled over volcanic rock the size of barrel cactus, moving ever upwards to get to the cave that was situated just out of sight of the tide pools and blow hole on the east side of the island. The climb would put me at thirty feet above the turbulent waves that crashed onto rocks lodged into the tiny beachhead like a fruit basket of papaya, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

As I clambered across the rocks and then descended the last volcanic outcrop on the cliff side that prevented swimmers at the tide pools from seeing the cave, I sighed with anticipation.

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Signals

A koan, in its most simple and profound aspect, is an exploration of paired opposites. The fact that a koan appears simple and yet is not so simple is paradox. How can it be both? When it comes to the koan of “seeing” whether a particular teacher or guru is right for us, how can we see deeper than just with our eyes to the very heart of the matter?

Seeing Through the Guru does not take the teacher/guru at face value because of a title. We want to “see through” in order to determine if the teacher/guru is fulfilling their role in pointing to the truth of the matter related to our journey and us.

Yes, I am implying that because one has the label of “guru,” it doesn’t automatically signal that the service he or she offers is true, trustworthy, and pure of heart. This assumption has caused grief for many. I believe that’s an easy proposition to agree with.

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