Mindfulness Meditation
    • Awareness, kindness, peace of mind

Spilt Coffee? No Worries.

by on 01 April


     I recently spilt a cup of coffee, just missing my computer, but had no negative reaction. It was a beautiful experience.

 

     I was working at my desk with a cup of coffee to the right of the computer but further away from the edge of the desk. I’m always mindful that coffee spilt on the computer could have ruinous results, so I take great care in setting my cup of coffee down slowly on the desk a bit away from the computer.


     I’d been pushing myself for a few weeks to prepare for several events, was tired, and might have been mentally “rushing” a bit. I needed a “stickie” note from the pad a foot beyond the coffee cup that was two-thirds full. I reached over the cup and grasped the pad of notes. Then, as I drew my hand back toward me, sticky note pad in hand, I suspect I turned my attention back to what I was typing. That was a big mistake, taking my “eye off the ball” like that.


     The next thing I knew, the cup was on its side pointing towards me, and coffee was flowing over the desk (but not the computer, thank goodness) and dripping onto the broadloom carpet below. And, I just watched it without doing a thing – watched the flow and the liquid seeping into the carpet, getting “soaked up”. And, I began to feel very happy as I realized that my usual reactive habits were not “kicking in” automatically. I was amazed and joyful - two wonderful emotions mingling together at the same time.


     What amazed me was that I wasn’t reacting “normally” – I wasn’t getting upset that my computer almost was damaged, and I wasn’t criticizing myself for creating this problem. The first habit was reacting negatively to reality – resisting and fighting what’s happening now. And, the second habit was criticizing me for what I’d done. Both habits reduce our ability to respond effectively to what’s happening in the here and now – to handle the situation. And, both can create suffering and stress through the negativity created in the mind and body that can last for hours.


     No, I was just watching reality unfold and loving my non-negative reaction. I was having a beautiful taste of equanimity, an attitude – way of thinking – that Jon Kabatt-Zinn (and the Buddha) says is a very wholesome attitude to cultivate and realize in the mindfulness practice. It’s meeting life’s negative events without becoming negative in our mind and heart. It’s a lovely way to try to live.


     Needless to say, I soon cleaned up the carpet which is none the worse for wear. The coffee mishap passed. But, the wonderful memory of amazement and joy in response to the mishap stays with me, always available to warm my heart and inspire me to be mindful.

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