Our Love For Coffee Is Proof We Exist

A body that understands and responds to caffeine is what being awake is. Don’t get it? Read the following statistics.

  1. Caffeine is unquestionably associated with lower risk of mortality. And an even greater reduction in the risk of death with higher coffee consumption. In short, you can live longer if you consume more coffee (total, caffeinated, and decaffeinated). (study)
  2. Caffeine’s biological effect is antagonism of the adenosine receptor. This means that caffeine speeds up nerve cells by tricking certain adenosine receptors. (study)
  3. Contrary to its positive side, there is a potential discussion that coffee consumption is directly linked to health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and anxiety. This is when you take coffee consumption to an extreme level; that is, more than 5-7 cups a day. (study)

Of all the times I’ve come across such statistics, I’m convinced of the psychological effects of coffee. The secret to “waking up” even after waking up consciously is coffee; in its smell, aroma, and flavor.

So, do you wake up and smell the coffee for staying awake? Or do you wake up and smell the coffee because you absolutely love to?

I tried to draw a line between these two questions. The answer comes out groggy and confusing. Groggy because that’s how most of you feel before drinking a cup of coffee. And confusing because that’s how I feel about coffee after researching on something popularly known as “coffee psychology.” Coffee psychology is deciphering what coffee does to the human body. How it makes you focus on the positive and how it makes you see things more clearly. But what I didn’t find, at least not in the initial stages of my research is this: the deliciousness of coffee as a hot or cold drink. Yeah right. What was I hoping to find?

The first few words we think of when we talk about coffee is alert, energy, clarity, and active. It’s hard, but not impossible, to find the words: delicious, delicious, and delicious. No more or no less. Maybe this article will belong to the “delicious, delicious, and delicious” family. But wait a second. Is my love of coffee a trickery? Is caffeine tricking my taste buds, just as it tricks the adenosine receptors, into loving its taste even when it’s the most bitter thing one could taste?!

The more I drink coffee, the faster the caffeine continues to conspire and blur my sensitivity toward what tastes good and what tastes bad. To someone who’s never had a sip of coffee, coffee tastes bad, right? Wait until the caffeine kicks in. We can avoid it… we can but then we go ahead and dilute it with milk and sugar and the caffeine’s conniving booby trap begins. From very sweet to mildly sweet to not-so-sweet to slightly bitter and finally, to boldly bitter.

If someone were to ask me why I love drinking coffee, I would say, “Because I love the taste so much. And it’s not about the fact that it keeps you alert, thinking quick, and energetic. I just love the taste. And yeah, I only drink it without sugar. I mean, who drinks coffee with sugar anymore?!”

People do not talk about this. But it is a good conversation starter. Look at this for example.

Cornell University (study) suggests that caffeine alters the perception of taste. Just the act of drinking coffee every morning made participants feel more awake. Also, when you taste food right after drinking coffee, the flavor of the food is noticeably altered. This happens because caffeine tricks certain receptors in the brain into reducing our sensitivity toward sweetness as a flavor. That’s precisely why we crave the bitterness of coffee.

So, are you telling me that the day I stop desiring coffee in the midst of my coffee drinking habits, I stop existing?

When Does Wisdom End?

Self-awareness is life-changing. It’s when something translates into everything. But what most people don’t tell us is that it demands a lot of our brain power. Self-awareness is not just about crossing legs on freshly-cut grass and meditating in a park during sunset. What it does come close to is waking up for sunrise and walking that extra mile to locate a better spot for the perfect adventure.

It’s all about putting in the effort with no ifs or ands or buts. Now you might say that this is the wisest, yet commonest thing you’ve repeatedly heard or read about. So, what’s the big deal about this article?

This, perhaps, is me breaking down the lesson in fragments and inspecting each fragment under a metaphorical microscope to see what intersects between wisdom and ambiguity. Wisdom and ambiguity are abstract concepts derived for the clarity and obscurity of life. Both are essential when nothing else is. Sometimes, we are not the outcome of our own wisdom. And in those times, we are the outcome of what we don’t know. That’s where everything lies. And that’s when we are able to gain control over some aspects of our own lives.

Now you might think that absolutely nothing is in our control. But conviction isn’t the tool of uncertainties. Imagine all your life’s uncertainties as your playground and conviction is what gets your hands and feet dirty. Such a courageous act exists beyond what’s out there already. And the hardest thing about this playground is that it needs to be constructed by you, from dust and rock. This is the only place where wisdom doesn’t break the silence.

What is said and done within those boundaries is simply causation within itself. It’s expressing and reflecting the workings of the mind as well as its unfathomable limitations. It’s where you push ahead – past the good and bad – and respond to deeper instincts. Wisdom ends when you draw a blank right up to the point of indulgence and obsession.

I strongly believe that self-awareness is not complete without stimulating the mind and body in myriad ways. But I also believe that with letting go one can possess a better and clearer understanding of life and throw light on the kind of choices one makes.

We Can’t Keep Things Simple, So We Complicate

And yes, in most cases, keeping it complicated is a choice. Other times it’s just consequence.

I’m afraid of a kind of attachment that won’t ever be simple. And I don’t mean with romantic relationships exclusively. This can be translated to my work, friendship, personal life, family relationships, and more importantly, to myself. Clinging on to patterns that add fuel to the fire is the only skill I know. This is because I am an exposed crop of my past; and so am I an unsteady nine-to-fiver of this chaotic world. Aren’t we all some kind of nine-to-fivers? If not for work, then for our emotions. We don’t have to belong to a company to have to cluelessly follow a sort of routine that is often explained away in less than a second — in brief excuses and hesitation and subconscious condemning of a much larger entity. Be it religion, constitution, government, society, or flawed human nature itself.

Hence, we can’t keep things simple. It’s a thought process we’ve been tweaked and monitored into habituating. And in doing so, we’ve lost meaning from thought itself. Giving importance to thoughts has defeated our ability of thinking without us even realizing it. Where is the “why” of living, of doing, and of being? This can only come from stopping thoughts. Better, in silencing them for a while. This won’t be a switch like you would TV channels. This silencing of thought and being in the present moment has to be the evolution of logic, judgement, and perspective. And if you go far enough, it could become your only reason to become a better human than you were yesterday. To grow from your silence, your pain, your experiences, and shortcomings.

This is simple. It’s taking what you already know and directing it to what’s real and right here. Sometimes not giving importance to certain thoughts is one of the best decisions you can make. For yourself. For others. For everyone. This lacuna is from where you grow to become original and thoughtful. And on days you get caught up with too many things to do, this little trick will do wonders to how you feel while doing them. This is a kind of freedom you create for yourself so you when you’re in the middle of chaos and confusion, you start to feel more like yourself and not the opinions and projections of those around you.

There’s No Such Thing As The Secret To Happy Living

As if happiness is a destination and “the secret” is the journey to it.

It’s a complicated feeling: happiness. And it’s hard to define it to myself or somebody else. If you haven’t felt it, it becomes sort of like a wavering dream you haven’t seen yet. But I often ask myself why my mind always aims to contract my understanding of happiness. Is it in freedom? Is it in traveling? Or is it in writing this article? Where is it? Seeking or aiming for happiness in moments when I most need it makes me skip a few steps. It’s all a thought process.

We’re always trying to skip ahead a few chapters to get to the good part. The part when feeling good feels good. The part when we don’t have to cut short on happiness just because the moment is over and it’s time to face reality again. The part when we don’t need or have to feel guilty about not wanting to feel the rest of it. And time is as it always does. It moves on just as effortlessly in the storm as it does in the calm. Just the perceptive and emotive sensation of it is unique for each of us. And that’s what matters.

So, coming up with the definition of happiness and its secret that we often want to know more about in self-help books and articles is a waste of time for me. It’s just a small part of what deception looks like. You can choose to remain cloaked in your delusions about achieving happiness as one does nirvana. But happiness is not real enough to feel as if you deserve it. Being grateful, at peace, and honest are much more important in life. It isn’t a singular feeling which is what your individual self makes up as varied facets of happiness.

With that in mind, I learned to respond to happiness by being the better version of myself in negativity and positivity. I learned to focus and re-focus what it takes to know myself even though its trajectory afflicts me with feelings of loneliness. But I will not fall prey to separating my personal experience — breaking it apart — and labeling it as happiness. This does not mean I’m giving up on the good things in life. It just means I’m refraining to bridge experience to emotion because I’m so struck by the logic and uncertainty of it.

The Strength That You Wake Up To But Don’t Sleep With

When you learn without the help of another person, you’re not entitled to anything. You’re making your own mistakes and saving your own ass. This sort of dependency on another human being is toxic, I believe, when you want to take things slow. You need to adapt and review what you’re learning without the adamant judgement of others. And this is what makes you a deep thinker. It forms inside you a mind so complete and original. And you might not be as adept as the person sitting next to you when it comes down to conversing unabashedly. But the fact that you learned in solitude makes comparison seem narrow-minded and meaningless. It’s time we disregard what matches up to the standards of our culture. And regard what makes us unique, however unconventional to learn.

I never thought I’d be where I am today if it wasn’t for my chase. My chase to learning what solitude means to me and why does it mean to me what it does. My chase to struggling with relationships. My chase to my anxiety and feeling lonely. My chase to not getting out of my comfort zone like so many people I know have told me to. My mind is full of instances where I’ve gotten passionately obsessed with my chase. Whether it was good or bad — I never questioned its substance. Instead, I questioned the ordinariness of my life. My routine, habits, thinking, emotional stability, and the likes. This shift in thinking was the cause of many vulnerable and upsetting experiences since the day I was born. And some parts even before it. And now you see me trying to make sense, not of my past itself, but of my present as an outcome of my past.

The strength lies in acceptance. Of unravelling the past in relation to the present and in the becoming of the future. The strength you wake up to is not the same kind of strength you sleep with and dream. It’s strength that’s created with attention, realization, and acceptance right from when the clock strikes 00:00 to 00:00. Your ability to ask what, why, how, and when is your strength. Not the destruction of it. If you destroy anything, you do the you that’s the consequence of where you are just so you aren’t defined by the unfairness of it. Your strength is the sum of all the good and bad things that have happened to you and around you. And that strength isn’t inherent. It is bred; even agonized when you’re struggling with life’s meaning and fallacies. Out there, whatever you do or say is quantified in material terms to an extent that even you begin to materialize them. But that’s not growth. That’s a human paradox: to attach quantifiable sense and direction to something that the world thinks relevant and convenient. But to you, it’s a waste of effort because what comes in strength isn’t verifiable.

You can look at two pictures of the same object and still feel differently about one from the other. Sometimes the thing about strength is that it can feel so heavy and light, at the same time, you don’t want to let it go. And to this, the world says you’re being too selfish, too opinionated, or too set in your ways.

To this, you say —

“When the bad dreams finally catch up to me, my strength will not want to let them go. My strength will be my antidote to wake up the next day. And until that day starts, today is all I have to continue my chase. For what is today, is enough.”