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Thursday, June 26, 2008

setting an intention

in today's edition of thrillist los angeles, there was photo of a buddhist monk happily holding a bowl of what looked to be... could it be... pieces of chocolate?

turns out it was a plug for a line of chocolate from a company called intentional chocolate. supposedly, this "gourmet varietal chocolate has been shown to significantly decrease stress, increase calmness, and lessen fatigue in those who consume it."

really? how do they do it?

i'll let you read an excerpt from the IC website:

Intentional Chocolate is the result of the findings of a breakthrough scientific pilot study and a year of consumer testing. With the introduction of this groundbreaking new product, creator and founder Jim Walsh aims to create an entirely new category of chocolate that both enhances its already beneficial qualities and brings our understanding of nutrition to another level. Breakthrough licensed technology, developed by the HESA Institute (Human Energy Systems Alliance) captures the focused good intentions of experienced meditators and then infuses those intentions into chocolate. Intentional Chocolate is unique among food products in that it has been experimentally demonstrated to improve the overall well-being of those who consume it. It is the first of a new line of food products designed to provide sensory delight, exceptional nutrition, and a novel, scientifically demonstrated form of “intentional nutrition.” The results of this encouraging pilot study are published in the scientific peer-reviewed journal, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, October 2007.

Intentional Chocolate is embedded with the following intention: Whoever consumes this chocolate will manifest optimal health and functioning at physical, emotional and mental levels, and in particular will enjoy an increased sense of energy, vigor and well-being. The new "ingredient" in Intentional Chocolate is not a conventional nutrient, but rather the focused benevolent intentions of highly experienced meditators. Intentional Chocolate is the first product born out of this mind-matter technology. Though the success of this empowerment has been scientifically substantiated under double-blind, placebo-controlled conditions, Walsh focuses less on the scientific aspects and more on the intentions behind the product. "More and more people are yearning to live a purposeful, intentional life and to express our good intentions for the world. Intentional Chocolate reminds us, in a particularly delicious form, that we can do good for ourselves by wishing well to others."

what all this mumbo-jumbo is basically saying is that eating intentional chocolate will make you feel good. interesting. but then again, could it be that people feel good after eating their chocolate because chocolate in general tastes good, and eating something good tends to makes people feel good? i know it does me :)

anyway, figuring that any new chocolate, intention-infused or not, was worth a taste test, i checked out IC's online store. and it turns out that benevolent intentions don't come cheap; a 14 ounce bag of fine dark "pistoles" (chocolate chips, in other words) will set me back a whopping $29, plus another $11 or so to ship it to me!

this really bothers me because i can't see how buddhist monks who've taken a vow of austerity would choose to have anything to do with a line of chocolate that caters primarily to those who can afford to live a life of luxury :(

ah, but if you keep perusing their website, you'll find this note that might appeal to the do-gooder in you:

10% of the net proceeds from the sales of Intentional Chocolate will be donated to the Deer Park Buddhist Center and Monastery who played a key role in experiments and studies conducted. “We want to support the Dalai Lama's vision of creating a center at Deer Park to facilitate dialogue between Eastern and Western disciplines. The Eastern tradition has a rich technology of the mind while Western science excels at the technology of matter. Bringing them together is a true mind matter interaction," says Jim Walsh, Founder of the Intentional Chocolate Company. Helping support Deer Park will assist in making the Dalai Lama’s vision a reality leading to many more innovations and joint projects."

note that it says "10% of the net proceeds", not "10% of the sales price". so what do you think... maybe fifty cents of your purchase, if that, will make it to the buddhist center's collection box? how about you skip the pricey chocolate altogether (or choose something sourced locally instead, like see's, perhaps) and send your donation directly to the deer park buddhist center? in fact, they're in the midst of a fundraiser for the upcoming visit of the dalai lama himself and are accepting donations here.

i don't know. it seems like a lot of to-do just to sell chocolate. but then again, i'm sure someone's bound to go for it...