I love coffee. As I sit here at Stansted airport at 05:18 with my cucumber-kale-fennel-spinach-avocado-broccoli-apple-and-lime juice (not making this up), I crave a decent shot. This is my third day off coffee completely, and I wouldn’t promise that I will never touch the smooth black liquid again. But this morning, if you can call it that, getting up at 01:50 AM to catch a flight, something every time I hope to never do again, but these days only inhospitable seems to be affordable – this morning I realised that the thing about coffee is a spiritual one – as of course all things are, so I’m not sharing any news here, maybe just a little conscious awareness.
Coffee works. As far as we know, it blocks adenosine receptors and causes the brain to suppress fatigue. It also kills insects, which is why plants have come up with the compound in the first place. It’s a neurotoxin, and like many toxins, in small doses acts as stimulant. In a simplistic though maybe not completely wrong understanding, the body may just increase the metabolic rate in order to flush out the toxin.
Effectively every time I use caffeine, I put on a boxing glove and give my body a good whack – metabolically speaking. It’s a way of controlling, domineering my body, trying to force it to be wakeful, as of course we always have to be alert these days, and be it just to check our Facebook notifications and paddle upwards through the constant email deluge. However as most of us sooner or later learn the hard way, messing with your neurons is generally a silly idea, as your body is a vastly more miraculous machine than our standard neanderthal cause-effect way of thinking does any degree of justice, and will present you with a plethora of counterbalances and fine adjustments that will over time take you places you aren’t sure you ever actually willingly embarked on…
Two weeks later now, still on water and the occasional green tea, I found a greater sensibility to circadian rhythms and the presence of time. I allow myself to be tired for a while in the morning, and will generally be less tired during late afternoons and evenings, sleep better, and, maybe most remarkable, crave sugar less. Maybe a less stirred-up metabolism requires less instantaneous fuel.
You can light a lamp by blowing a torch against it. You can also connect it to the source and let it shine from within. No external stimulant will add anything to an inner glow that comes from conductivity and being switched on. I don’t demonise coffee and may well go back to enjoying it occasionally. I do hope however that I won’t fall back into the snare of ever higher dosage to achieve some effect, plus jitters, disruption and blockages of natural energy that wants to radiate through me.
Let it shine.
2 Replies to “caffeine junk”
Now I have the counterproof. I needed it. Went back from zero to 4+ shots per day, just because I really love coffee and wanted to see whether it would give me — hmm, what did I expect? If I’m honest with myself, euphoric bliss. Pretty much what what you hope to get from any drug, the reason you start taking it before the tolerance levels ramp up. I wanted to feel great about myself, productive, serene, witty, high-spirited etc. Or at least, I wanted any vestige of tiredness after a few short nights to vanish completely. Surprise, surprise, coffee didn’t get me there. Alertness levels weren’t substantially increased, and I now have official case study proof of what I’ve known for a long time: coffee makes me tired. The rebound leads to a narcotic drowsiness that I hadn’t experienced at any time during the previous two weeks without coffee.
There’s only so much energy you have, and you can re-distribute it a bit but not pull additional vigour out of the ether. And the energy you have is from your Creator and fuelled by your contact with Him. Coffee simply cannot do anything for you in this respect, other than distract and distort. Okay now I have to wean myself off again. Bought some really nice grounds from a local roastery and probably won’t be able to bring myself to throwing it out so maybe this time I’ll phase it out rather than go cold turkey. [whizzes off to make another shot]
Michael Pollan in an interview with Joe Rogan, tells how he quit coffee for three months. It was psychedelic. At least the first coffee he had after that period. https://youtu.be/mAPG18zNtXk