Food is an important part of daoist cultivation. It is recognised that how and what we eat affects our body and mind, and can support or compromise our bodily systems. This can become apparent as we quieten down and become more sensitive and intuitive from the meditation and daoyin practice.
The food that we eat on retreat is carefully chosen based on the season, climate and effect on the body. It is then cooked in a specific way, so that a steady rhythm of meditation and daoyin can be maintained without obstruction and without counteracting the settling experienced from these practices.
This way of choosing the ingredients, preparing and cooking the food brings nourishment without sitting too heavily or being too stimulating. It is another way to support the process of cultivation.
We have a general tendency to eat until we feel full, but on retreat we have a chance to observe how our conditioning and the habits of daily life dictate our behaviour. You may find that you need to eat less in response to the practices. This is not always the case but we invite you to listen to your body’s needs and respond appropriately.
To support this we follow the tradition of the daoist temples in China where you are encouraged to finish what is in your bowl – this means we can take a moment before taking our food to decide how hungry we are and how much food we wish to have – there is always the option of seconds if you take too little!
Bringing food into awareness is an important element of the cultivation, being sensitive to your appetite and the effect of food on your body is another way to respond in the moment and release conditioning. It is also very beneficial and supportive of the emptying out process and being present to where you are.
Any specific dietary requirements can be catered for during the retreat, please let us know beforehand.