Food for the soul and some vegan recipes

Over the last years, I had a recurring dream theme that I was cooking or helping to provide food for various groups of people. I always interpreted that meaning that it would be my task to provide food for the soul for people.

But now (in May 2021) after more than one year in the home office due to Corona, I am not so sure anymore about that interpretation. Maybe it meant that I would have to provide lunch for my family almost every day?

When I cook, I am more relaxed and do not feel the same urge to plan ahead which I feel with other tasks on my todo list. But I trust more that I will be able to finish my task in time.

I have come to enjoy cooking because it allows me to be creative. I rarely use recipes but rather mix and match whatever inspiration tells me to do in that moment. For example, when I feel inspired to add dried apricots, dates, and cinnamon to an otherwise hot and spicy dish, I usually just do so, wondering with some curiosity how it will taste. It is always a bit of an experiment.

One of my sons has turned strictly vegan since one year. This means, I have to cook mostly vegan or dishes where he can have vegan food and the rest of the family can add cheese or so if they want to.

Recently, I was asked twice on the same day what I usually cook. This led me to compile a list of dishes which I want to share here in case some of my readers are looking for inspiration for what to cook.

Baked vegetables

Besides cooking dishes like pasta, pizza, burger, wraps, and sushi, I like to bake marinated vegetables in the oven and serve them with varying sauces.

-) For example, a mixture of baked red kuri squash (hokkaido pumpkin), apples, onions, chickpeas, carrots, sweet potatoes served with garlic dip or with mango chutney dip (both based on soy yoghurt). Also yummy as a sauce is coconut milk mixed with peanut butter and chili and sweetened with sugar or agave syrup.

-) Baked celery root slices with mashed potatoes with mustard-agave-dill sauce (which is the vegan type of mustard-honey-dill sauce).

-) Red bell peppers and black olives with potato wedges, all marinated and baked, served with a dip made with soy yoghurt and ajvar.

Grains and vegetables

Aside from the oven-baked dishes, I cook rice and serve it with vegetables, beans or nuts, and a sauce.
For variation, I substitute rice with millet or spelt and also spice it a bit.

-) Creamy carrots: For example, I cooked millet+red lentils+chopped onions+chopped dried apricots+yeast broth paste+ brewer’s yeast all together in one pot. Served this with peanuts, chickpeas, tortilla chips, and puree of carrots with coconut milk spiced with cinnamon, ginger, chili, and curry.

-) Coconut curry: rice and brown lentils. Coconut milk with pan-fried, chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and some green Thai curry and lemon baking flavor. This recipe was inspired by this video , but is a variation of it.

-) Sweet and spicy: Bulgur cooked with apples and oatmilk, cinnamon, sugar, and chili. Then put it into a casserole and baked it in the oven with a crust of almonds and sugar. Served it with vanilla sauce.


-) My family also loved my onion-sauce dish. Pan-fried vegan schnitzel with red cabbage and mashed potatoes with a sweet sauce from a puree of pan-fried (or microwaved) onions with oatmilk.


I have become creative with making sauces. Cooking or baking vegetables is easy. But to make things taste good, I need a sauce.

-) So, I make soy yoghurt based dips where I experiment with mixing whatever fits into the yoghurt (like chutneys, sweet chili sauce, mustard, ajvar, or vegan spreads).

-) Or I make vegetable purees from microwaved veggies, mix them with oatmilk or with coconut milk, and spice them with aceto balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and chili.

-) Sometimes, I cook oatmilk, mix some spice into it, like mustard, and use cornstarch for making the sauce creamy. But this requires more effort than the soy yoghurt method or veggie puree approach. Therefore, I do it less often.

I like it best when I have added something from almost all flavors,(i.e. sour, sweet, salty, hot, and umami) to each sauce to make it taste interesting and balanced.

This is a bit like telling a story which conveys spiritual insights and is food for the soul. The story also tastes best when it has elements of all flavors of suspense, surprise, sadness, and humor.

I think that at the moment my guidance is trying to get me to apply my more relaxed approach to cooking to the other areas in my life, i.e. less planning ahead, less preparation for the future, trusting that all will work out in the right time, and following inspiration in every moment. But I find that challenging.

The spiritual journey and the workplace (part 3/3)

In the previous posts (part 1 and 2), I shared how I had changed with regard to my work at the office and what kind of follies I observed. In this post, I write about the problems with technical solutions in general.

Layers of emergent problems

I was working in a technological environment. When there were issues, the usual approach was to fix the bug in the computer coding, to improve a process or workflow, to automate more, or to improve the documentation. And there is nothing wrong with these approaches. In fact, they brought us a long way. I think these approaches are needed in a corporate environment and it is common sense and best practice to use them.

But I saw how not only at work but in our society in general we always tried to solve one issue only to have new issues arise from the solution. For example, having mobile phones is great and useful. But with these gadgets, new issues arise like trackability, data privacy issues, and also smartphone addiction- It is as if every solution to a problems breeds a new layer of emergent problems.

For example, with the tool I developed to prevent our stress-inducing last-minute issues, I did indeed solve one problem. But afterwards I had the burden of the maintenance for that tool and had stress with that. So, one problem solved, but a new one arising.

For every issue, there was always this hopeful feeling, “Never mind, we are going to find a solution. We are going to fix that. And then life will be easier.”

But that never happened. While we did find a solution and we could fix the initial problem, things did not get easier after that. Instead we had an new layer of emergent issues. So, this hope that things would get easier was an ever evading carrot. And it was after waking up that I was able to see this.

What did work, though, for making things easier, was finding inner peace inside and going into inner peace whenever the shit hit the fan. This was the key which made my life easier – and not necessarily some new tools or technical processes.

While I see the necessity to keep improving technical solutions and business processes, an improved common sense and best-practice approach to the usual approaches would be to educate people about the fact that we are consciousness, that consciousness embraces and permeates everything in this world, that thoughts coupled with emotions are literally creative, and that choosing inner peace and acting from inspiration and guidance from that improves results.

Technical or process solutions vs synchronicities and intuition

In the movie The Matrix, there is a scene where Neo walks with Morpheus through a crowd of people. While Neo frequently bumps into another person, Morpheus navigates this stream of people without issues. In the corporate world, people are like Neo on the sidewalk frequently running into collisions with something or someone.

So, the usual approach would be to develop tools to prevent these issues. Hey, we could develop an app for our smartphones which measures the distance to other people and beeps whenever we come to close to someone else. Isn’t this a great idea? Then we would surely solve the issue of bumping into people once and for all. How about marketing that, making some money with it, and feeling great about the fact that we have made the world a better place with this new tool?

But Morpheus has a different solution. He is awake and navigates the world at a different level. So, the issue of bumping into people does not arise for him and therefore does not need to be solved.

I thought that this movie scene was a wonderful metaphor of how waking up and then learning to navigate the current of life can be the solution to so many problems of daily life.

I want to share one story where I saw this principle in action. I had encountered a technical issue and opened a ticket in our Continuous Improvement Process. Someone took care of that ticket and even though he shared a lot of links with knowledge in the ticket, he was not able to get the issue solved because it required the collaboration of another department.

I had already given up and thought this issue would never get fixed, but then one day I synchronistically met a colleague who was a student doing an internship at our company, and he knew what the problem was and whom to contact. So, in the end this issue got solved without our sophisticated Continuous Improvement Process, just by a chance encounter with a student worker who was willing to help.

Just to be clear, I don’t mean to condemn technological advancements or improved processes in any way. They do have their place and they can be very helpful. I just want to point out that they alone are not the way to lead a more happier and peaceful life because of the issue of layers of emergent problems discussed above. And in addition, I think that we need to be aware that there is another way of finding more peace and happiness in life, namely coming into inner peace which in turn will lead to the adjustment of the outer circumstances (something which science hasn’t realized yet and which it cannot explain). So, if someone wants to develop an app which would help people to find a parking space, maybe that would be helpful. But in addition, asking for help from beyond the veil to find a parking space might be a useful option.

The spiritual journey and the workplace (part 2/3)

In the previous post, I wrote about how my shifted focus at work led to more relaxation. Here I share what I observed about my work environment. While in the beginning of my worklife, I was enmeshed in the corporate world, now I noticed much more about what was going on in the corporate environment and how insane some of it was.

Laboro, ergo sum

I saw the need to always have something to do just to look busy and feel valuable and how that plays out.

Once, a co-worker complained to me that he could not really enjoy his vacation because he had so much work to do. So, in order to be able take time off, he would have to work harder before the vacation and also right after the vacation. But on the other hand, I noticed that he had enough time for optional activities like participating in work-related knowledge quizzes and doing stuff just for the sake of gaining visibility. And I wondered why he did not drop these optional activities and then enjoy his vacation.

And I have been there before. I have felt this pressure, too, to always look busy, to always show in team meetings and in meetings with the boss how much I contributed and how engaged I was.

This attitude can breed unnecessary work. Work which is done just for the sake of doing something because one feels obliged to do so.

I remember when I rode my bike to work, I came across a retirement home every morning. In the windows I saw pretty, colorful handicrafts and thought, “The old people are doing occupational therapy here. They need something to do to keep them busy, and so they are producing pretty things for the decoration of the windows.” I thought that I would not have time for this.

But then a thought hit me. What was I doing at work everyday? A lot of not so necessary stuff. Wasn’t it something like occupational therapy, too? Well, but maybe this is what’s needed for keeping people so busy that they have no time to ponder the big questions of life of ‘What are we? Why are we here? What is the purpose of life?’ Just to keep ourselves busy, running in the hamster wheel, chasing the ever evading carrots of happiness out there.

In the corporate world, it is not ‘cogito, ergo sum’ (I think, therefore I am), but ‘laboro, ergo sum’ (I work, therefore I am). (Of course, even Descartes did not get it completely right because the I AM presence is there even when I do not think , but that is a different topic.)

Communication distorted by fear

Another folly in the corporate world is how things are communicated – or not.

If a status of a project is red, it evokes fear to clearly communicate this to the hierarchies above because of the consquences it might have. And so, out of fear, people can feel tempted turn the red status lights into yellow lights. And sometimes, the yellow lights can be turned into a more greenish color when the status is reported higher up. Until the people at the top are unaware that there have been issues in the hierarchy layers below them.

I also noticed that the communication of unpleasant news works as follows: For example, instead of writing an email with the subject line “We are planning layoffs”, write an email with an introduction with how great the company is and blah, blah. After reading that first paragraph, one third of the employees will have deleted the mail because who has time to read such business emails anyway.

In the second paragraph communicate that you will have to do something unpleasant like layoffs, but rephrase it like “In order to be able to continue to be successful we will make our workforce leaner, reorganize, restructure, and streamline our departments and leverage synergies.” People will read that, yawn, and not understand that it means layoffs.

At the end, conclude again with a statement how fantastic and amazing the company is. This way one can communicate layoffs but without people becoming upset – at least not immediately.

Basically, I became aware of how fear was ever-present and how it would lead to distortions when unpleasant things had to be communicated.

How to get a promotion: the dos and don’ts and the power of letting go

After my frustration about not getting a promotion for my work, a colleague let me in on a secret.
She told me that if people are intelligent and have a good heart, then they do things in a most efficient and cost saving way. Just solving problems fast to everyone’s satisfaction. And let the boss know afterwards that they have solved a problem.

Then they will be promoted – NOT!


Because they are not visible.

The ‘correct’ approach to a promotion would be to make the boss aware of the issue which needs to be solved, and let it stew. To wait until the boss comes and begs them to solve it.

Then set up a project with ten people. Lead the project. Organize a lot of meetings. Discuss. Have others do the work. Present some nice slides at the rollout. Even though this would burn resources and would much more expensive than the original approach, it will give them visibility to those bosses up in the hierarchy who can decide about their career. They will demonstrate that they are a teamplayer and a leader. And then they might get a promotion.

Okay, that was eye-opening. While I was successful in school and up to my doctorate degree, my approach to work had never fit into the corporate world all along. I had too often solved issues using the fast, efficient, but invisible way.

The weird thing was that I got my promotion after I dropped some of my efforts and handed most of my tasks over to other colleagues, signaling to my boss that I was not willing to play this game with the ever-avading carrot anymore.

Surprisingly about six months later (in 2016), he gave me a promotion.

I am not sure that I would recommend this method of ‘try hard only to fail repeatedly and then let go‘ to everyone, but I noticed that there was definitely something remarkable about the power of letting go.

The spiritual journey and the workplace (part 1/3)

What does working in the corporate world look like after waking up? As usual, this may look different depending on the person. Here, I share how my experience at my day job changed over the years after awakening.

Disengagement – not seeking fulfillment via work anymore

Before my spiritual journey started, I was very engaged at work and passionately digged in to develop a new tool which would help us to avoid overwhelming last-minute stress and to improve the quality of our products.

But when this not only resulted in additional stress for me regarding the maintenance of this tool but also wasn’t appreciated the way I expected it to be appreciated, I became angry and eventually found that I did not want to be as engaged as I once was because every time I tried, I felt anger rising up.

So, I let go not only of the need for appreciation but subsequently also of the need to feel engaged at work, and in turn this helped me to let go of anger about what I perceived as an unfair situation.

Eventually, I found my inner peace and joy inside and found new fulfillment elsewhere, namely in reading metaphysical books, journaling a lot, and sharing my spiritual journey with others. The former driving force of seeking fulfillment in the job, in making a contribution there and in turn getting in a promotion and pay raises, – all of that fell away.

In addition to this story of disengagement at work and shifting my focus elsewhere, there were some other things I have observed.

Not creating problems any more

I had noticed that my need to see myself as a smart person was a creating, generating force, which resulted in attracting problems which were difficult to solve. Once I had seen that connection, I could let go of the need to have this part of my self-image being reinforced. In turn, I did attract fewer and fewer difficult issues.


Occasionally, I noticed that my bad mood would affect my PC. So, I made an extra attempt to come back to inner peace after being upset.

I also realized that other people acted as mirrors. A guy who was particularly annoying in his search for recognition and appreciation dropped out of my field of interaction after I had let go of my own need for appreciation at work.

Work became easier

My work shifted from very stressful to much easier over the past two decades even though I held the same job the entire time. Although there were many factors contributing to that development (e.g. more automation, better documentation, enhancement of my own skills, outsourcing, delegating), I think that a large factor was that I had become disengaged. No more need to prove myself or impress anyone. No more attempts to fix the issues in our processes (other than what was absolutely necessary).

Towards those who were superior in the hierarchy, there was no more fear and people pleasing. No more fear that I might not get the proper pay raise if I was not compliant. No more falling for the bait of the ever evading carrots put in front of my nose in an attempt to keep me motivated. If I did not want to take on a particular task because I felt it was too much to handle, I rejected it fearlessly.

Just to be clear, I still completed my tasks as reliably as possible so that other people down the line who depended on my work wouldn’t have to suffer. And if someone needed help and asked me for my expertise, I would gladly offer help if I felt able to do so. But I didn’t feel the need to put in any more engagement than that. I also tried to remain polite and respectful even towards someone who I felt had lied to me. But I made sure to state my boundaries firmly and fearlessly.

The overall feeling was a bit like being retired in my mind. Detached, disinterested, and not bothered by things about which I would have become upset about before.

Freer and more relaxed

While before, I measured my own success in how much computer coding I had written or how many issues I had solved, afterwards the more important points during the day were the chance encounters with some colleagues in the coffee corner and the interesting conversations that resulted from that ( – that was before the start of the lockdowns due to the Corona pandemic in March 2020 when where we were still in the office regularly).

My mail inbox became emptier than ever before. The sense of overwhelm lessened considerably.
I noticed that I was able to think faster and more efficiently when needed. This might have been due to the lessening of the constant overwhelm with too many tasks.

I was less able to fake interest for things which did not interest me at all. So, I dropped most meetings which did not interest me and which were not absolutely necessary.

I navigated with synchronicities, relying on that I would meet the people I would need to meet in order to solve a problem.

Once I read a story about a poor man and a rich person who was working for the king which was like a parable describing my situation. I haven’t found the original text, so I tell this from memory here:

The rich man saw how the poor man was eating just soup and bread every day. And with well-meaning compassion, he said to the poor man, “If you had learned to be a bit more disciplined, you could have worked for the king and then would have become rich and then you wouldn’t need to eat just soup and bread every day.”

The poor man replied, “If you had learned to be content with soup and bread, you would not need to work under the yoke of the king and then you would be free.”

This story says that it basically comes down to what priorities we have. Mine had shifted a bit to the beggar’s point of view. But fortunately, I do have more to eat than soup and bread even though I don’t work as hard as I used to work.