The New Samovar – Zen Valley (Hayes Valley)

teaIt was Monday night, February 23rd. I had the luxury of not teaching that evening but rather had just come from being a student in a yoga class. For weeks, I’d been telling myself I needed to get back to the Zen Center on Monday nights and for weeks I’d been telling myself I would go take this yoga class and go to the new Samovar in “Zen Valley” (aka Hayes Valley) and then drop into the meditation. Why did so much luxury appear to be such a struggle for something my spirit needs on a very regular basis to replenish and re-nourish?

So, I got out of yoga and it was raining – ok pouring, first sign that I might not take the next step and might return home to my isolated intimacy (Facebook). Then suddenly, I found myself sitting at the community table at the new Samovar, Zen Valley and although I wanted to be alone, there were a few staff members at the other end but they were heavily engaged in some running the business matters. So, I had the end of the table all to myself and after a while of reading and enjoying a pot of Wei Chi Cha tea (which should be made into popsicles), I realized that a meditation had already begun. That just being in an environment that took care of me allowed me drift off and let go of thoughts that had nothing to do with the present moment. All my concerns at that moment were if I needed more water and someone else would get that for me.

Then, as the universe always does, community begins to sprout and the front door opened and in walked a few folks I knew that were coming for some tea and then heading over to the Zen Center for the meditation and then a few minutes later, a few more folks came in and then more and more. All of a sudden, there were 10 people at Samovar who were stopping in to begin creating a peaceful transition from their day into their spiritual practice and that practice began with sharing a pot of tea. I knew I was in the right place but to secure and cement the foundation, the door opened one more time and a very important mentor and guide of my own spiritual practice walked in and asked me if I was headed to the meditation. I thought the answer was obvious but that I needed to be asked was a good reminder that maybe my actions haven’t been speaking as loudly as my thoughts lately.

It took tea and some moments alone to reflect on a practice that has served thousands of people for thousands of years. It took a great teacher to be mindful enough to ask the question are you going and I realized that a life with purpose always has the answer of yes I am going so that others may also go. The community is already there on every side of the street in Zen Valley but take a few extra moments to stop in at the new Samovar and give your self the gift of being still and enjoy some moments of meditation and some tea. You will be well taken care of by the staff and the surroundings.

If you’d like some more information on Les and his practices, visit www.yogawithles.com

Hari Om Tat Sat – Les

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