Here on the Horse, we talk a lot about “Dharma-Burgers.” You can click here for the description via Urban Dictionary but, simply put, a Dharma-Burger is an example — dubious or not — of Buddhist imagery or ideas that is being put to use in any sort of marketing, advertising, or sales arena. Again, a Dharma-Burger isn’t necessarily a bad thing — for every really cheezy, quick-buck shlock-item that might qualify, there’s always some surprisingly smart and/or inventive tie-in that seems at least somehow in line with Buddhist principles.
For a while now I’ve almost lamented that I haven’t really been covering “Yoga-Burgers“, as there seems to be no end to the way that yoga, like Buddhism, is being co-opted into mass culture. But it looks like I can get in on the ground-floor with a new kind of ‘Burger.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you what may be the first legitimate “Mindfulness Burger.” (Okay, it’ll need a better name that that, but you get the drift.)
As the press release I saw today states:
“With all of us busier than ever, it is important to find easy ways to eat nutritious foods that provide lasting energy. With this in mind, the National Peanut Board (NPB) has launched the Peanuts: Energy for the Good Life® iPhone® app. The free app offers recipes, snack suggestions and a five-minute mindfulness meditation exercise with Stephan Bodian, author of Meditation for Dummies® — tools to help people care for their bodies and minds throughout every part of every day.”
I must admit: I was at first pretty cynical about this. The mindfulness/peanuts connection just seemed like too much of a stretch. That peanuts — whose healthfulness is sometimes in question, especially when they’re not of the organic variety — should be an early beneficiary of a sort of “Mindfulness Bump” seems, well, odd. And this does appear to be just a straight-up marketing move.
But I’ve started to wonder if it doesn’t, even accidentally, represent something more: this app could be seen as a great (if very minor) thing because, hey — whether it’s there to shill peanuts or not, it’s also teaching people about mindfulness. And: peanuts? How mainstream can you get? Might as well be apple pie.
One thing’s for sure: this won’t be the last of this kind of thing. We’ll be seeing mindfulness everywhere soon — for better, or for worse. But I’m starting to think it’s almost always going to be for the better. Mindfulness, after all, goes with just about everything. I just happen to prefer almonds.
The real question is: What do you think?