The Tao Of Coffee

Two scholars spent the better part of an afternoon in a local Portland Starbucks arguing the theories of Evolution versus Creationism. Getting nowhere, they took the advice of the Chinese guy working there and decided to drive to the beach and visit a sage named Chung Lee who reputedly had the answers.

Upon arrival to his shack hidden amongst the coastal dunes not far from Astoria, they parked and started up a hill to where the old sage sat on a cliff facing the sea. After quietly approaching him the old man turned, directed his eyes upon them and asked, “Where’s the coffee?”

The two became puzzled. “Sir, One said. We were told you could help us with the greatest philosophical dilemma of our age . . . perhaps even give us some insight into the theories of which we are about to speak.”

“Yes, of course.” Chung Lee answered. “But go now, next time you come, bring me a cup of Starbucks coffee, then we will speak of your theories.”

The following morning they checked out of their motel at the crack of dawn and returned to the hill. This time One carried a large cup of Starbucks coffee. After greetings, he handed the old sage the cardboard tray and they both opened their portfolios, each anticipating a quick and decisive victory.

Chung Lee, while sipping his coffee quickly went over each theory, handed the papers back, looked out to sea and finished the coffee before beginning to speak.

“The two theories are mere disciplines, and although seemingly opposing views, upon deeper reflection are one and the same. The difference lies in your interpretation and in your desire to understand the mystery. But alas, the mystery cannot be contained within a theory, so you are both beating your learned heads against a brick wall.”

Going on he said. “Each theory is merely a doorway, and being so can never explain the goings on within the room. You need theory to find the doorway, but once opened this very same discipline becomes your stumbling block. Theory will never reveal truth, only the pathway to it.

The two looked at each other, excused themselves and walked back to the car.

“This is a wise man?” One asked the other. “”He sends us for coffee, then he comes up with this gibberish?”

“Yes, it is strange,” answered Two. “Yet his reputation is such that there has to be something we are missing. Let’s give him a chance to prove himself.”

The two went back to where the old man was sitting. “Sir, excuse us, but neither one of us understands. What are we missing?”

The old man held up the empty cup. “This cup will always contain a mystery, but as you smell of it, sip of it, and enjoy the taste of it, you one day realize you don’t really care HOW Starbucks made such a good cup of coffee, you are just glad they did. And thanks be to the mystery, as long as there are people like you seeking to understand it, I will never have to worry about getting my morning cup of coffee.”

The old man dismissed them with a smile and returned his gaze to the sea.

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