You probably have never heard of caffeine meditation before because as a concept it is quite contradictory to the meanings of each term “caffeine” and “meditation”. For those who have, you might be wondering how can caffeine be a source or element in meditation.
Caffeine is a crystalline xanthine alkaloid, extracted from coffee beans and tea leaves. Richard Lovett, author of Coffee: The Demon Drink, stated, “Caffeine is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive substance.” However, caffeine is a legal and unregulated safe food substance, which is supported by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unlike the other psychoactive substances. If consumed moderately, caffeine increases one’s attention, memory, intraocular pressure, physical performance, muscle recovery, and decreases heart and liver diseases and tiredness. However, when caffeine intake is overused, the body becomes caffeine dependent and intoxified. Every individual needs to assess his or her caffeine tolerance to limit dosage.
The health benefits of caffeine are similar to meditation some would argue. However, what’s contradicting is the capacity of caffeine to boost one’s energy, while meditation aims to relax the body. Caffeine meditation is a technique that is hard to master. In this meditation, an individual needs to focus all activities through the brain to achieve normal brain wave patterns and mind concentration. Instead of exhibiting physical activeness, mental attentiveness occurs during caffeine meditation. The mind concentrates hard as the entire body relaxes. Caffeine meditation is beneficial only to those who have caffeine tolerance because they can adjust their bodies to find peace within the energy stimulating factors of caffeine. Meaning, their bodies do not react negatively to any drink that contains caffeine.
Green tea, soda, and chocolate all contain small amounts of caffeine, but the most used caffeine drink for meditation is coffee. Zen Coffee author Gloria Chadwick said in her book that coffee has “a way to bring a sense of mindfulness and peace to your life rather than something to chug down on your way out the door.”
The method done in caffeine meditation is similar to the basic procedures practiced during a regular meditation session. The only difference is, the meditator drinks a caffeine drink like coffee some time before meditating. Another approach is by inhaling the aroma of coffee while meditating. Some people like me love how coffee smells but don’t necessarily want to drink it. The aromatic smell of freshly brewed coffee is soothing to the senses and somehow helps relax the mind.
What one has to understand is, caffeine meditation is only recommended for those who are caffeine drinkers. Do not risk your health if you’re not. I am ambivalent about the effects of caffeine on the body over the long term. Don’t start drinking coffee just because you think caffeine meditation is the way to go. There are arguably better meditation techniques for both beginners and advanced meditators other than caffeine meditation. At the very least the many other meditative techniques out there are just as effective as caffeine meditation. Just find the meditation practice that suits you best!