March 30, 2009
A little groggy, Bodhidharma, the first Zen patriarch, cut off his eyelids to stay awake. He tossed them aside and legend has it tea leaves blossomed at the very spot they landed. We don't suggest you try this in your garden at home but tea does work wonders, and meditators have drunk it for centuries to stay awake. You can drink coffee, too, says Peter Doobinin of New York's Downtown Meditation Community, who told Tricycle:
Some people say that it was actually Buddhist monks who discovered coffee. The story goes that they were wandering around in the forest somewhere when they came across the beans. They started chewing them and thought, "These are great. We can use this energy for our meditation practice."
If you are going to get up in the morning and sit, it doesn't have to be first thing. Get up and have a cup of coffee if it helps. It's when you start taking out the newspaper and doing other stuff that you lose the freshness of mind you have when you first wake up. But if you can have coffee without turning on your cell phone, go for it.
Coffee first appeared in the highlands of Ethiopia in the 9th century. But it's a good story anyway.