In what has been my toughest year in living memory, last night in a week of perpetually evolving introspection I had a thunderbolt of dizzying confusion. But let us step to the side of this treadmill and frame the scene. All of my intuitive readers will know I had quasi-breakdown in the middle of the ocean in the middle of the year.

I may not have known it at a time but I did. My solution for my breakdown was a week in Berlin which shall henceforth be known as the Zebra Toned Berlin Bandaid experiment. Whilst this experiment did patch me up enough to get here it was always a bandaid and the bandaid is now hanging in my wardrobe. I am not sure I will wear that armour again.

My return home as afforded me a lot of time by myself and an absence of distraction. I have became disenamoured with my usual distractions and have become attracted inward. Introspection is a strange beast it feeds itself like a black hole and seeks more introspection. On Tuesday I decided I would seek formal training in meditation. Romantically & stupidly I always thought I would always have to climb a mountain and go off the grid to do this. It turns out you don’t have to go very far at all. I have found a local monastery and will attend a Sunday session tomorrow.

Some of my readers may be tut tutting at this thought but I will now present you with a counter.

“Have you ever met an annoying Buddhist?”

I am most certainly not going down this path merely plucking a facet I wish to incorporate into my way of life. There is a perfectly scientific reasoning for this.

Cortisol is the stress hormone.
Meditation lowers cortisol very effectively.

Anyway this is all deep and heady stuff let us get back to the punchline, the bewilderment if you will.

I asked the monastery what I needed to take with me. Very fittingly and wisely they asked me to bring some food for the monk. This might seem easy for someone who has a thorough knowledge of food or the desires of the enlightened. The people in my life who have seemed temporarily enlightened in some capacity have always had a complete and wanton disregard for food. Me myself? Well I could quite happily eat the same three meals for the rest of my life.

Right I thought I will ask this weird consciousness that we are all attached to and this is where it gets really bizarre. Google provides a dearth of useless pages detailing the heady dietary concerns of various Buddhists. Some of them are vegetarians. Some of them are root vegetable challenged. Some of them eat some meats at some times of the year. Some spices are ok. Some fruits may or may not be in favour given the current calendar day. The thunderbolt had landed.

This all gets all the more frustrating when you try to acquire food walking this tightrope of choice. Surely I should be growing this food myself, blessing it in my own way and nurturing it into being. I then thought I would go to a supermarket. Oh the humanity. After a week of navel gazing a supermarket provides a jarringly sharp insight into what Monks are not.

Anyway the real point on this blog post is to provide an easily acquired shopping list for someone who wants to provide a Monk some food in exchange for some Meditation training. After seemingly hours of wandering this is the best I could come up with.

  • A modest sack of high quality rice. The packaging is very important it should be sack like and not have the words Uncle or Ben on it.
  • A netted bag of apples
  • A large bag of mixed nuts and dried fruit. “Sunshine” brand
  • A variety of high quality soup mixes

I hope this will be ok. I do have a loophole. Google says they accept money as Koha as well.

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