Welcome to the Craft Chocolate Sutra
What is up 'ohana? My name is Ethan Swift and I'm a (almost) 40 year old mixed kanaka (person) who's been living in Hawaii for over a decade. Philly born. I'm certified in "Self-I-Dentity Through Ho'oponopono", Thai and Lomilomi massage therapy as well as being a registered yoga instructor (RYT), and a Hawaii chocolate-maker. Becoming physically disabled (in 2016) has never stopped me from practicing this chocolate meditation, or any meditation, for years. I've decided to put it all together and share it with you. I fractured my neck in 2 places body-boarding before my love for chocolate exploded. My practice of loving-kindness and my connection to nature and chocolate passion has matured from pain and losing my mobility. I've been blessed enough to be able to incorporate some of the local Hawaiian chocolate in Hawaii's Morrnah Nalamaku Simeona's and Dr. "I"Haleakala's meditations and you can too.
Read through this guide first, and then use it on the second read-through as a self-guided meditation. The meditation is more effective if you can familiarize your self with all the following steps first.
"The Chocolate Sutra: A 35-Minute Craft Chocolate Meditation with
Step 1: Setting the Stage for Practice.
Find a peaceful spot indoors and alone. Maybe you can hear the sound of the wind blowing, the birds singing, and hopefully eliminate sound of traffic-like distractions. Limit your audio intake during this meditation and feel free to create a vibe by lowering the lights and locking doors so you are not disturbed. This a personal meditation with distinctly your own, sensory analysis of craft chocolate - a meditation with yourself. It can be adapted for any meditation group as well. Maybe you already have a community you can share this with? It is recommended you become fluent in the steps first before using this in guided meditation for others.
Gather a selection of craft chocolate bars, representing different origins and cocoa percentages, but it must be child-slave free like from from Hawaii. It could be from South America, South East Asia, or even Madagascar. Just be 100% sure its verified as child-slavery free.
Set a timer for 35 minutes. Start it
Step 2: Aromatic Preparation.
Begin by smelling each pre-opened chocolate bar, noting the different scents and aromas, such as fruity, floral, nutty, or earthy. Use the "Snap n' sniff"™️ technique for more depth perception. Just snap the chocolate by breaking a piece of, and sniff it! You are also welcome to leave the chocolate open and out for 24 hours before doing this meditation and connect with the 4 elements around you in the meantime. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply, focusing on the aroma of the chocolate, and listen for that same breeze and audio profile as before. Then acquaint with that stillness as a reflection from within. Include the stillness of the earth beneath. You can't feel the Earth, spinning -- similarly you can't get aromatic sniff's when just eating chocolate. Just eating it makes it hard to process o r even detect subtle aroma..
Step 3: Mindful Tasting.
Take a small piece of chocolate and place it on your tongue. Allow it to melt slowly, savoring the texture and flavors as they unfold. Notice the sensation of the chocolate as it melts and the flavors as they develop on your palate. Take your time, savor each bite, pay attention to the aftertaste, the feeling in your mouth, and the sensation in your body. Spread it to every corner of your mouth as it melts. This is very important.
Once it has fully melted into nothing, you have 'tasted the chocolate'. Its important to spread the chocolate around the inside of the mouth well before it all melts.
Sip the air with your mouth repeatedly and quickly to blast the melting chocolate with oxygen, lifting the aromas into your sinuses. See if you can detect more flavors with small sips of 02 just like a wine sommelier. Smell the aromas in your nose and just forget your tongue for a second. Notice how this causes air to hit your sinuses deeper than usual, allowing you to expand your sensory awareness. Take a sip of water or other palate cleanser. Next, munch. "Melt n' munch"™️ its called. Munching on the chocolate will reveal a completely different aroma dispersal which is perceived as a different flavor profile. Chocolate changes flavor depending on how its consumed. "Snap 'n sniff"™️ and "Melt n' munch" ™️ are just 2 methods for a true understanding of all that a tablet of chocolate has to offer. Memorize these two techniques and you will be well on your way to identifying and perceiving new and different cocoa flavors then every before in your life. Your expanding palate will even reveal itself to you when eating meals and snacks as well. Food may taste different after practicing these 2 methods from the Chocolate Sommelier School.
Conceive the differences in flavor while munching.
Then, Lean into the linger. You may have to close your eyes for this and shut off your other senses. At the very least you need to perform a meditation that will help you focus and slow down. Chocolate is a stimulant after all. The after-taste, or linger will be imperceptible to some who are not connected to their tasting palates. Blindfolding and using ear plugs can be an excellent way to train your sense of smell. You'll never miss the delicious lingering of carmellly, creamy, fruity, spicy and sweet chocolate if you pay attention long enough. Sometimes craft chocolate will linger for longer than 10 minutes! Also a great way to practice is by using those 2 sensory analysis methods with similar foods like coffee and wine. You may finally learn what tannin is.
Step 4: Reflective Meditation with (Breathing) Nadi Shodhana.
As you continue to savor the chocolate, shift your focus to your breath and start practicing "Alternate Nostril Breathing". To practice Nadi Shodhana, sit comfortably and take a long deep breath in through both nostrils, then close your right nostril with your right thumb and exhale slowly through your left nostril. Inhale through the left nostril, then close it with your right ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. This completes one cycle. Continue for seven cycles. Then sit, feeling the sensations of the chocolate still lingering in your mouth, and the leaves moving in the wind, the warmth of the sun and maybe some birds singing still. Allow your mind to become calm and still, letting go of any distracting thoughts or expectations and simply be present with the chocolate, the sensation in your body, on your tongue, and the natural world just outside. Reflect on the flavors and aromas of the chocolate, and how it connects to the land, the culture, and the people who made it, and the natural elements that surrounded the cocoa trees and the chocolate making process -- the terroir. Connect the flavor to the terroir and get to know the vibration of the land the chocolates from. Try this with each piece of chocolate only from verified slave-free chocolate origins.
Step 5: Final Acknowledgment.
Once the timer goes off, take one final deep breath in and out, acknowledging the experience you just had. Take note of how you feel and the expanded way you can taste, smell and feel the chocolate, and maybe even the natural elements around you. Open your eyes, take a sip of water and clean your palate for the last time. Notice the emptiness of a clean palate and how rare it actually is. Some constantly have something on their breath, all day everyday. Enjoy the rest of your chocolate bars with a serene mind and possibly a different flavor perception of the hand-crafted chocolate then the at the beginning. As an exit to this meditation, and return to modern life, I remember my moment-by-moment mantra from "Self-I-Dentity Through Ho'oponopono". It helps me to release any negative thoughts or emotions as they come up moment-by-moment afterwards and allows DIVINE inspiration. I begin the mantra, after the sutra, and carry on my day, as you can, with a higher vibratory field. Send gratitude to yourself, your mantras and all your prayers being answered as you root your baseline of happiness in being present with the sensory experiences you love. .
This meditation guide is created by the author after decades of practice. It draws from my years of experience staffing "Self-I-Dentity Through Ho'oponopono" courses, instructing hundreds of hours of Kaula Tantra Yoga, my connection to nature, and my love for Hawaii craft chocolate. I invite you to join me in this unique experience by doing this meditation in absentia. Without me. On your own. Now that you've read through it, you can adeptly go back and actually (do) practice it with some understanding of the Chocolate Sutra. You will get better and better at it with practice.
Keep in mind that you can use whatever meditation techniques you are familiar with, and adapt the meditation to your preference. You can also use any other prayers that resonate with you or your ancestors, to enhance the experience, and make it more personalized to your psycho-spiritual needs and preferences. Remember to be kind to yourself and enjoy the process, let go of any expectations and simply be in the now moment with the chocolate, the sensation of your tongue and body, and the energy of natural world around you - let god. The main goal is to connect with and get to know yourself and your own aroma and taste preferences on a higher level, and to deepen your appreciation and understanding of the history and culture behind Hawaii chocolate. And even sense and imagine the local sacred volcanic terroir. Have a moment of peace, relaxation and connect with your inner self. Have two. Remember that chocolate meditation is not only about the taste and flavors but also the experience of being mindful and as self-aware as possible. Also, the growth of those skills will take place. Take this time to be grateful for the moment, the chocolate, the nature, and yourself for reading this. Be grateful for your chosen prayers. This is great way to take a break from the busyness of the world and to connect with yourself routinely and reliably. I hope you enjoy this chocolate meditation as much as I do. So, go ahead and treat yourself to a delicious and mindful Chocolate Sutra. Allow the chocolate to guide you on a journey of self-discovery and peace by allowing the breath to do its work. And don't forget this is not a competition, it's a practice. You will get better at it. Give yourself permission to be exactly where you are today though, and to enjoy the process without judgement. And lastly, remember that you can always reach out to me if you have any questions or need education or support. Enjoy the practice and let cacao and chocolate guide you on your journey of self-knowledge, contentment and inner peace.