August 28, 2017
Meditation is one of those things that we all know we should be doing more of. However, if you’ve ever tried to develop this practice then you probably understand how difficult it can be to sit quietly by yourself, even for 10 minutes! In the modern world of the internet, smartphones, and social media, our consciousness has never been more bombarded with information, stimulation and stress than it is today. It’s no wonder why consistent meditation has become such a difficult habit to build! It’s also one of the best reasons why you should start a daily practice- as technology becomes more invasive and more information gets funneled into our minds, we need something to ground us, to help us sort it all out, to calm us down and help us to reset.
One of the easiest ways to start a new habit is by tacking it onto an old habit. If you’re someone whose morning routine involves making a cup of coffee, then you know that there is a point when you have to sit down and drink it. What I am suggesting is that instead of aimlessly scrolling through your social media accounts, try putting away your phone and just sitting in silence with your coffee. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and enjoy every sip... That five to ten minutes of sitting quietly with your coffee is the perfect starting point for building a daily meditation practice!
When I began incorporating coffee into my meditation practice, I found it to be very useful for focusing my mind. However, after I came up with the idea for Level Up Coffee (which coincidentally came to me while I was meditating) and started incorporating it in my meditation, I began to really fall in love with my practice. When I used Level Up Coffee in my meditation practice, I experienced feelings of mental clarity, calmness and euphoria; these wonderful feelings led me to do more research into the cognitive effects of combining cacao and coffee, and as it turns out, there have actually been studies done on this very combination! What I found is that there is a special synergistic effect that results from blending coconut oil, raw cacao, and coffee- they produce very unique feelings of mental focus, calmness and euphoria that are absent in coffee alone. I also discovered that South American shamans have been using cacao in heart-opening ceremonies for thousands of years! Here is how using Level Up Coffee, which combines raw cacao, coconut oil, and coffee, can help you build a daily meditation practice:
Coffee contains the well-known stimulant caffeine. Caffeine will not only improve your mental focus which is crucial for meditation, but it will also stimulate the release of dopamine. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical that the brain produces that can cause feelings of euphoria. These feelings of increased mental focus and euphoria can make meditation easier and very enjoyable, which can increase your chances of developing a daily practice.
Science and spirituality are finally coming together and proving what the Aztecs and Mayans discovered thousands of years ago. Cacao is extremely revered by the Aztecs and Mayans and is known as the “food of the gods”- they use cacao in heart opening ceremonies which they believe help participants to release negative emotions as well as to access higher states of love and bliss. The fact that they use cacao for its ability to “open hearts” is very interesting because studies have now shown that cacao is a vasodilator; It has the ability to dilate blood vessels, which in turn, increases blood flow to the heart. That Aztecs and Mayans believe that cacao reduces negative emotions and helps one to reach higher states of love and bliss is also fascinating- science has shown that cacao contains the neurotransmitter PEA, a chemical released by the brain when we fall in love, as well as anandamide, which is known as the “bliss chemical”. It turns out that these ancient civilizations were onto something big!
Combining Caffeine with Cacao
If you’ve ever consumed too much coffee, then you know that caffeine is a very potent stimulant that can leave you feeling jittery and anxious. After drinking black coffee for a long time and then switching to Level Up Coffee, I noticed that although Level Up Coffee was stimulating, it had a much more calming, focused effect than black coffee and it reduced the feelings of anxiety that I sometimes experience from caffeine. One reason for this is because of the coconut oil in the Level Up- fat can slow down digestion, which in turn slows down the absorption of caffeine from coffee. The second reason that Level Up provides more sustained euphoric states has to do with the raw cacao powder. "Researchers from Clarkson University and the University of Georgia studied the effects of caffeinated and non-caffeinated brewed cocoa on attention span, motivation to perform cognitive work, and feelings of anxiety, energy, and fatigue. The authors concluded that cocoa alone increases blood flow in the brain, boosting cognition and attention span, and that coffee, a well-known stimulant, when drunk alone can increase anxiety. Together, however, the caffeine and cocoa boost attention span, while the cocoa also acts to reduce the caffeine’s anxiety-inducing effects…”
Integrating Level Up Coffee with Meditation
Here is a morning routine that can help you develop a daily meditation practice:
As you drink more of your Level Up Coffee you should begin to notice a sense of euphoria melt into your awareness. Your mental focus will begin to sharpen and a state of relaxation will settle in... When your cup is empty, you can either sit a little longer or get up and start your day! This is the exact morning routine that I used which helped me go from a 15 minute per day meditation to an hour. If you’re a daily coffee drinker you should be able to easily integrate this into your morning routine. Then before you know it, you will have managed to develop the ever-elusive daily meditation practice.
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