Sunday, January 16, 2022

Meal Time!

Many years ago, I came up with a program I called Mindful Eating And Living Sangha (M.E.A.L.S.) based on the success I had with the book "Savor" in 2010. I envisioned a network of small groups who would routinely get together and practice the following:
  • Recite the Five Contemplations
  • Share a Mindful Eating experience
  • Read and discuss the book "Savor"
  • Practice Mindful Movement
The idea was that I would start the first group -- at that time I was overextended -- and lead it for a year. Enough time, based on my own experience, to embody the process and experience "successful" attainment of one's goals. Once that year was done, the people in that group (from my larger local area) would go off and start another year long course which they would lead, and so on and so on.

My hope was that this year-long grassroots-group exploration will deepen my own practice further, help others establish mindfulness as a way of healthy living, and - hopefully - encourage them to go out and spread the practice through starting similar groups.  If successful, it could see a viral growth since those who complete the year, may hopefully create groups of their own and repeat the process, again and again.

The first MEALS group was wonderful and fairly successful.  No one in the group experienced the dramatic transformation I did, but they all got various benefits from it, and if there was even a small improvement to one's life, I would call that a success.  But alas, no one carried the group forward and MEALS went into hibernation.

Well, it has been stirring for the last year, and it seems to be waking up now!

I've been teaching the Dharma in Virtual Reality (a story for another day) for the last couple of years, or since the pandemic started,  and it's just wonderful.  The possibilities are limitless! Back in July of last year I started thinking I could bring MEALS into VR, but was stumped as to how. 

Mindful movement is somewhat doable, meditation is for sure, but how about food?  I tucked the idea in the back of my head and began mentioning it here and there.  There was a little interest but nothing ever woke the beast. Finally, one friend in the community approached me about the book that had helped me, and the seed was planted.  He started reading, experienced immediate, noticeable benefit and water and sunlight hit the seed and it started to grow!

All of this to say...MEALS v2 is in the early stages of coming into being at last, thanks to RickRolled (his tag in VR).  He asked me for a meeting with a few people, I agreed.  Next we discussed how to go about getting together and it blossomed into a full blow open to the public event with nearly 20 people attending from within and beyond the community of EvolVR

The session was beautiful, informative, heartfelt, moving, and productive! We are getting the people interested together via the EvolVR Discord Server and will be scheduling another meeting soon.  I'm extremely excited about it.

As a final note, perhaps due to the coming of the aforementioned meeting, I woke up on Monday of last week suddenly extremely motivated to rekindle my full "Savor" practice and I've been hitting it all this week and loving it.  I also, unrelated, have been practicing Lojong for another Buddhist practice training I'm involved in and it has helped and complimented my practices greatly! More on all of these things to come!

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Photo by  Braxton Stuntz  on  Unsplash "Try to be mindful.  And let things take their natural course. Then your mind will become still ...