August 12, 2013

Life the coffeeverse and how Zorba The Buddha saved my soul!

Crazy title right? Coffee shops have become a temple for me,..  not just Melbourne.  I was in Sydney a few weeks ago and like a person of faith I sought out my church to feel at home, except mine was a cafe that served a familiar brand (Toby's in that case).  Similarly I have been based at a client the lest few month, and found a Campos place near by (note both Sydney based brands,.. what the??) to call home.  In both places I found myself talking to the owners, getting to know them and eventually being treated like part of the family.  For a long time I have made my cafes my Coffice but I would also call them a place of solace. Like all of us in certain chapters of our life I faced some challenges on a personal level the last few years.  It impacted on absolutely everything including my heath and businesses.  I really lost my way, and aside from the every present smile of my beautiful children, my favourite Melbourne coffee shops allowed me to pause, reflect and find my way again. During that time my mind went back to India which I visited in 1998 and had been travelling through New Delhi, Rishikesh, Jaipur, Agra and Rajistan. In the backstreets of Agra (home of the Taj Mahal), I found a small restaurant cafe that was called Zorba The Buddha. My curiosity was stirred being of Greek decent so I went in and had a meal.  It had been a long and tiresome day and he had been thinking about  life, home, and the crazy things I had seen during my trip.  I sat at a table and scanned the menu and noticed that the food was all vegetarian, but there was coffee and alcohol on offer.  This was in my mind a tad incongruous. When I finally ordered, I noticed scratched on the wall were the following words;

‘The concept of the new man is that he will be Zorba the Greek and also Gautam the Buddha: He will be sensuous and spiritual, physical, utterly physical in the body, in the senses, enjoying the body and all that the body makes possible and still a great consciousness, a great witnessing will be there.’ 
I remember being so pierced by those words that I feverishly copied them into my notebook for some day they would come into use. And so it really was in this difficult time over 14 years alter those words kicked in and I found them to be a source of comfort like a good coffee (so much so I even created a coffee brand that I sell online www.zorbathebuddhacoffee.com). I see now that many of the better cafes are representative of the words scratched into that wall,..  they have become temples for us (some of us don't even realise it).  I think kudos belongs to those amazing cafe owners who risk much to create a space for us to be.  I know many of them and am aware of the realities of running a cafe; they sacrifice much. Mind you, it's not just the taste, or the place; It's the moment,.. they create moments for us to be, share our moments with others and deal with the great journey of life. Have a great moment today! Peter IMG_2577                  

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