It was then, Walsh says, that he realized his involvement with the food industry was meant to be a platform for something else. “The energy pushed me to a different direction.” In the next couple of years, Walsh and his company undertook research and development to study the energy field that surrounds chocolate and how that energy field affects humankind.
Central to his work was the so-called “mother’s chicken soup syndrome,” the idea that lovingly prepared foods have curative properties. This led him to examine intention and the impact it has on food. “There is more and more evidence that suggests intention invokes measurable power and energy,” he says, noting that researchers at Princeton, Harvard and other institutions have been studying the power of intention for some time.
“We already accept the fact that our mind affects our body. What we have difficulty understanding is how mind and matter interact outside the body. If somebody comes at you with bad intentions, you feel it. On the other hand, I’ve worked with the Dalai Lama, and I can tell you that every time he enters the building, your physical state immediately changes.”
Infused with good intentions
Working in collaboration with author and scientist Dr. Dean Radin and the HESA Institute—which oversees research to show that intention does affect food—a pilot study was conducted using Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate. A control group ate regular chocolate while three other groups ate chocolate infused with good intentions by Buddhist monks, some of whom had trained with the Dalai Lama. Each embedded chocolate included this 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 for the benefit of all beings.
According to Walsh, the wording of the intention was a collaborative effort of him, Radin and the Buddhist monks. “In the Buddhist tradition, there is a belief that any extraordinary gift that you get is for the benefit of others,” he says.
The study showed that the subjects who ate an ounce of embedded chocolate a day for three days reported a 67 percent increase in well-being, including decreased stress, increased energy, calmness, greater focus and improved general well-being. Results of the study were reported in the October 2007 issue of the scientific journal Explore.
Walsh’s company licensed the intentional technology developed by HESA. He describes it as a “capture device,” allowing experienced mediators at the Deer Park Buddhist Monastery, in Madison, Wisconsin, to project their positive intention into a “tape recorder for thought pattern.”
“It’s designed to capture, hold and transfer intention into food on a larger scale,” Walsh says. “Embedding food is nothing new. Every time we sit down at Thanksgiving, we’re consecrating food. With the technology, we’re just democratizing the effect.”
Close to the bean
With Intentional Chocolate, Walsh says the goal is simple. “How do we make our food more energetic? We’ve learned that with chocolate, the closest you are to the bean, the better it is for you,” he says. “Our goal is that by the time the chocolate gets to your table, it still maintains the same pattern of information as it did when it was perfect.” He notes that this is the same expectation behind organic farming, raw food and the Slow Food association.
While his company is looking at ways to embed other types of food, such as juices, Walsh says he approaches the experiments tentatively. “We are a conscious, for-profit company, and we are trying to use our business to raise awareness about the powerful impact intention can have and give this important knowledge back to humanity.” He says some of the profits go to intentional causes such as supporting the Dalai Lama’s vision of creating a center at the Deer Park Monastery to facilitate dialogue between Eastern and Western disciplines.
Walsh says he’s hesitant to call his product a wonder drug. “But somebody blessed this food, and it’s a wonderful way to experience divine nectar,” he says. And to those who may call his Intentional Chocolates a marketing gimmick, he says, “At the very worst, you’re going to get some of the best chocolate you’ve ever had. On the other end, you may be in for a transformative experience.”