The "Coffee Shot" Reflection
Updated: Mar 28
Have you ever truly just stopped whatever you were doing and reassessed your life choices, your current state in life, your achievements, and so on? I can at least say for myself that, whenever I stop to listen to music that triggers within me something special, I then realize how good my life actually is.
It's more than being grateful; it's also about being truly aware of the positive and negative things in your life in order to increase your awareness.
If you have plans for life, something that is for the long term, like creating a family, getting smarter, or getting enough funds for one project or another, to simply stop and assess your current situation is something I don't think many of us do, simply because we are usually in a constant flow of action.
The "problem" with constant activity occurs when your actions become automatic. Like when walking, which is effortless for most. Once your actions get too automatic, the mind begins to aimlessly wander as the "machine" which it operates, becomes less and less conscious. It is a "problem" in quotes because it has its benefits as well.
It allows you to multitask, put your breathing into an automatic state, and even fall asleep. Sleep occurs automatically, not with conscious effort. Thus, the automation of action should not be seen as a fully negative feature of our existence, for it has its own merits.
Meditation is the ultimate form of "de-automation", of cleansing the automatic process of our conscious actions for a specific period of time and just observing everything sensible from without and from within. It then allows for contemplations or insights to arise, which could be useful for better understanding the world around us and ourselves as well.
However, when I realized how good my life is currently, I wasn't in a state of meditation. I simply listened to something that was new to me, which then triggered this realization. It was quick and only lasted a few seconds, maybe two. It was as sudden as it disappeared from existence as something very exciting.
This is why I call such reflections "coffee shots." It's something that occurs when an external, refreshing trigger causes the mind to realize something that is more than ordinary. It could be new music you listen to; it could be a picture; or, yes, even a coffee shot.
It is something that makes you feel alive instead of living automatically, if you catch my drift. It is swift as it is unexpected, like a shuriken that misses you by an inch and makes a crack in a tree behind you. In other words, it is something that makes you extraordinarily conscious.
Nonetheless, it might be avoided if you don't halt and let it affect you. Like raindrops crawling deep into the earth. So powerful are our automatic actions that we might often forget to truly estimate the world around us. What it could do to our minds, for good and for bad.
I do not know if I will have such an experience again since I live a solitary and monotonous life. I drink coffee regularly just to feel like I exist, or so I reason. When you're in long-term solitude, it's easy to forget that you're alive, if that makes any sense.
Today I had a meeting with a representative of a charity organization that sometimes helps this site through hired consultation. She didn't know me at all, and when we were talking about my life in this remote region of the country, she asked me if I had made any friends.
Such an anecdote is an example of what a "coffee shot" reflection actually is: a sudden realization; a glow of light on something that remains in the dark and in dust. I don't know the readers who will specifically read this article. I am nonetheless certain that you have such "abandoned" information as this as well: information or data about yourself or your life that remains unchecked and thus underrated.
Even in these times of a pandemic being fought by the world, our modern lives have many things that we are unaware of that we have, at least by experience, rather than by sheer fact. Our TVs, our phones, our beds, and many other objects show that we are quite privileged to manage to live in such an age of material prosperity, even if we are quite poor (I myself have lived most of my life in a poor neighborhood).
I think that, therefore, a pathway to a "coffee shot" reflection would be the question "How is life thus far". It is not the ordinary "how is life?" question we ask our family and friends. It is, rather, "Am I actually content with my life, and if not, what can I do to change it". Most, if not all, of us have our own obligations, but that isn't an excuse to just give up on ever feeling happy, even for a few moments.
The problem with gratitude is that we are just expected to be grateful, even when we are not. Therefore, a proper act of gratitude is when we are sincere. A gratitude without sincerity is but submission to a reality that could otherwise be changed by our own efforts. When we are told to think positively, it shouldn't be done by trying to ignore the negative aspects. Why can't we be positive spontaneously, with honesty, and with fire in our eyes?
That is the proper way to be positive: to be so by will. Not by intention, but by naturalness, by intuition. It is then that one can realize that life is good. It might not be tomorrow or in a few months or years, but it is good NOW, and that moment is more precious than a thousand days of living like a ghost.