In Traditional Chinese Medicine the small intestine (where we absorb the nutrients we eat) resonates with our hearts and therefore our sense of desire and joy. These emotions resonate with bitter flavors, like chocolate, coffee, tea and other stimulants. They resonate with the natural element of Fire.
Imagine going to a gas station and buying a chocolate bar to eat while we fill up our tank.
Imagine going into a fancy chocolate store and spending a few minutes picking out the “just right” selection of candies. Take some time, because these chocolates cost a lot, and therefore have greater value. Take that box of chocolate, dressed up with ribbon and gold foil, and place it on the mantle of a fireplace – or other sacred spot. Imagine thinking of that chocolate all day. In the evening, draw a bath, light a candle, get out grandma’s best china plate, and put the chocolates on that plate. Maybe add a few rose petals or a glass of wine. Take those chocolates into the bath, or eat them after the bath wearing fresh, clean and comfortable pajamas or a nightgown. That is eating chocolate as a spiritual experience. Indeed, it is one I use often in healing rituals with clients.
In the first instance we absorb neither the pleasure nor the nutrients (if any) of that chocolate, which is typically mass produced with the lowest quality of ingredients. In the second case, we focus on the pleasure, and in doing so absorb all of the nutrients, eggs, butter, sugar, chocolate, and the love that went into making that chocolate. One is good for the heart. The other may even cause harm.
Eating food lovingly and mindfully only goes so far. If we sit down with a bag of Cheetos or Oreos, we can savor every single item in that package, and absorb every nutrient, but still end up with close to zero nourishment at the end of that experience. Most of the ingredients have little to no nutritional value, apart from calories (which we measure by burning those substances in a controlled laboratory). The people involved in providing them to us did so with full attention to the corporate bottom line, generally paying all of the people whose “essential work” went into them the absolute minimum possible.
Eating with love for the food we consume, the people who prepared it, the farmers who grew it, and the lives of plants and animals that went into it provides nourishment for our bodies, minds, and spirits. We need far less of these types of foods to feel satisfied, because eating them connects us to the Conscious Universe. In a sense we eat all the emotions that went into the foods we eat. We pay more for foods that carry happy emotions, those raised lovingly by people who cared for the Earth that provided the ingredients, prepared by people who value their work, and are valued by their employers.
If only we could eat that way all the time! We would eat less, feel healthier, and maintain our optimal body weight. We would pollute less and breathe easier. We would eat the way people ate for millions of years, before the advent of prepared foods, refrigeration, microwaves, plastic and foil containers.
We live in this world at this time and on any given day we must consume some or all of these crimes against nature. We must forgive ourselves and focus on pleasure in what we do eat. Look at what we buy. Imagine the journey our foods took to get to us. Take pleasure in color, temperature, texture, smell, and taste. Let each bite connect us to this Conscious Universe that provides us with such abundance – at least once a day.
And please, do enjoy the chocolate!