Voyage to Betterment

Community members and University of Redlands students joined together on a recent Sunday evening to embark on a voyage to betterment at the U.S. debut of a film about making better food and life choices to improve health and wellness.

University of Redlands Professor Fran Grace initially brought the film “Voyage to Betterment” to campus as a part of her “Wholeness and Healing” May Term course—but was then inspired to turn it into a screening open to the entire community.

“People like to hear how to be happier and healthier. The film brings home this fact: Much of our experience of life is actually in our own hands,” said Grace, who is the faculty steward of the University’s Meditation Room.

A “Voyage to Betterment” began in 2005 for film producer Dave Haas, when he encountered a serious health problem and asked his business partner, Andrew Facca, for advice. Facca issued Haas a 30-day challenge, and he, along with a group of other participants, pledged to follow Facca’s “Ten Principle Elements.”

That challenge turned out to go far beyond eating habits, diving inward to reveal the power that mind and spirit have over total body health. After the 30 days, Haas had lost 25 pounds and dramatically decreased his risk of getting serious diseases, and, most significantly, reduced his risk of heart disease and stroke by 63 percent.

The film was sponsored by the University of Redlands Meditation Room, which opened in 2007 and was one of the first contemplative classrooms in the country, pioneering a shift in university education toward holistic learning that cultivates body-mind-spirit well-being.

Under the care and direction of Grace, The Meditation Room offers free weekly meditation classes to the community, as well as academic courses for students.

“Voyage to Betterment” is based on the ideas set forth in Facca’s book, “The Ten Principle Elements for Well Being: A Guide to Preventative Maintenance and Continuous Improvement,” which outlines the major steps necessary for improving total body health.

Borrowing ideas from prominent doctors, including David Hawkins, Neal Barnard and Colin Campbell to generate the “principle elements”—eating a plant-based diet, limiting alcohol intake to one drink per day, getting enough natural sunlight, exercising daily, and getting enough good rest—the elements also go beyond physical wellness, detailing the health impacts of positive mental patterns and spiritual practices. In fact, such mental and spiritual attainments were shown to have the greater impact.

The film participants began to eat better, exercise and practice mental and spiritual exercises, which the film showed to improve the participants’ overall health and happiness. Film viewers said they were grateful that such films are being shown in the area. As Jacque Smillie, of East Highland, said, “I’m grateful that The Meditation Room is doing so much for the spiritual community of the Inland Empire, and Redlands specifically. It doesn’t matter whether or not each event is right for me. Just going and conversing with people exploring their lives is valuable.”

“Voyage to Betterment” will be shown in other locations across the U.S. For more information on screening times and locations, or the “Ten Principle Elements,” visit

For questions or to receive information about University of Redlands Meditation Room events, e-mail

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