What the Scent of Coffee Taught Me About Unity Consciousness
A simple key unlocks a greater reality.
Deep into meditation — or so I thought, the scent of coffee wafted from the kitchen, through the hall, under the bedroom door and found it’s way to my calmly inhaling and exhaling nostrils. I heard the familiar tinkling of a spoonful of honey being stirred into the strong espresso. Tink a tink a tink. Tap tap tap on the edge of the cup.
“This too I can include.” I assured myself using the Zen tool for staying deep when senses call us up and out. And then I realised the significance of this singular moment. I smelled. I heard. But I did not see the scent of coffee, as strong and alluring as it was. My body was reading what was in the air with the senses that were activated. My nose smelled it and my ears heard. The experience was duly recorded and filed under ‘familiar’.
From there wonder took hold. That lovely place we sometimes inhabit in meditation. This place of inspiration and intuition takes a familiar experience and offers it up in another perspective beyond the material world of espresso pots, cups and saucers and a spoonful of honey.
What emerged for me was the reality that the air, which appears empty between me on my meditation zafu, and Athan in the kitchen with the cup of coffee, is in fact fat with information. Information my body could read through its five senses and information that is beyond those senses like light particles and radio waves or gamma rays. These are expressions of energy.
But, what of thought? Isn’t that also energy? And as my thoughts ping out as active sonar, where do they land or do they continually reverberate into the cosmos? And does that, in turn, make me the receiver, unknown, to trillions of thoughts similarly pinging around the universe? Is it like thought Twitter? Glimpsed in the feed for a moment, but residing somewhere forever in Twitter space? Or those thoughts that assail us in the middle of the night. The thoughts that express fragments of memory or experience that is incomplete, but by repetition in our ungoverned mind creates a facsimile of reality that we believe is who we really are.
And then my wondering took me to breath. The one breath I believe we inhale at birth and exhale at death; the one breath that gives us life and connects us with all living breathers. If I can discern the scent of coffee wafting on the air, what stops me from receiving another’s breath? Isn’t that what air is? The collaborative inhale and exhale of all living things — humans, animals, trees and plants? If I am bothered by cigarette smoke, have I not just been made aware of someone’s exhale made tangible to my senses as scented by smoke? And if that exhale is anxious or angry, do I not receive that message as well?
And think for a moment about the molecules that are in constant dance in all physical manifestations from mountains to mosquitos. Everything is in motion and moving the air this way and that. Pulsing, moving, inhaling and exhaling. Expanding and contracting. Heat, cold. Sunlight. Moonlight. Tides, winds, solar flares and butterfly wings.
We are sentient beings responding to stimuli on scales micro through macro. Our five rudimentary senses, if anywhere, are at the middle ground I would expect. The halfway point of what affects us from the atomic to the cosmic.
If you look at a weather map of the globe you will see the swirling of clouds and air and weather fronts across the earth under the dome of the various layers of the atmosphere. You might begin to wonder like I do if I do not hear the cry of the children in Syria. Or the wail of the mother whose child has just been shot on a street in America. Likewise, do I not feel the delirium of the birth of a long awaited grandchild? The ecstasy of one soul lifting above the mundane and knowing the joy of living without fear for the first time.
I’m not the best meditator in the world. I don’t get into bliss exactly. I’m happy if I can stay riding my mantra and not let my busy thoughts that slither over and under vying for my attention actually get my attention. I breathe and in breathing become even more mindful of my thoughts. What am I exhaling into the world? Which thoughts will ping back to me with the joy I desire or the fear I fear?
If I’m breathing into the world — your world, what would you have me breathe?
I’ll tell you what I would have you breathe for me. Love.
Someone said to me recently that the only two emotions are love and fear. And these are essentially expressions of pleasure or pain, which is our primal pathway. We love what we believe will give us pleasure and fear what we believe will cause us pain. I’m not so certain I agree with this limited definition of love.
I believe that love is unity consciousness. It is the ‘space’ that connects all — living and inanimate. Love carries the breath, carries the thoughts, words, actions out into the world. It’s the energy of evolving consciousness — ever upward and outward. Love desires the essence of all things to be fully expressed and harmoniously interactive and interdependent.
There is no duality of pleasure or pain in love. Love holds all aspects of life in a weave of experience that takes us to our highest self — along the short road or the long road. It doesn’t matter because there is no time or space to love, nor is there death or finiteness. Love goes on ever expanding and creating through those of us who align with love. There is not an opposite to love. It just is. But if we don’t witness and engage is this ever evolving unifying energy we experience the absence of love and life is diminished.
So in the coffee commercial those invisible tendrils of scent would be colourised and levitate me off my meditation cushion to float through the air like a flattened cartoon with a goofy grin toward Nirvana and the ultimate cup of espresso. But that’s media for you missing the whole message.
To your health and well-being!
Originally published at www.marilynharding.com on August 23, 2017.