The Raisin meditation
of the following eight stages:
Take one of the raisins (or your choice of dried fruit or nuts) and hold it in the palm of your hand, or between your fingers and thumb. Focusing on it, approach it as if you have never seen anything like it before. Can you feel the weight of it in your hand? Is it casting a shadow on your palm?
Take the time really to see the raisin. Imagine you have never seen one before. Look at it with great care and full attention. Let your eyes explore every part of it.Examine the highlights where the light shines; the darker hollows, the folds and ridges.
Turn the raisin over between your fingers, exploring its texture. How does it feel between the forefinger and thumb of the other hand?
Now, holding it beneath your nose, see what you notice with each In-breath. Does it have a scent? Let it fill your awareness. And if there is no scent or very little, notice this as well.
Slowly take the object to your mouth and notice how your hand and arm know exactly where to put it And then gently place it in your mouth, noticing what the tongue does to ‘receive’ it. Without chewing, simply explore the sensations of having it on your tongue. Gradually begin to explore the object with your tongue, continuing for thirty seconds or more if you choose.
When you’re ready, consciously take a bite into the raisin and notice the effects on the object, and in your mouth. Notice any tastes that it releases. Feel the texture as your teeth bite into it.Continue slowly chewing it, but do not swallow it just yet. Notice what is happening in the mouth.
See if you can detect the first intention to swallow as it arises in your mind, experiencing it with full awareness before you actually swallow. Notice what the tongue does to prepare it for swallowing. See if you can follow the sensations of swallowing the raisin If you can consciously sense it as it moves into your stomach. And if you don’t swallow it all in one go, consciously notice a second or even a third swallows, until it has all gone. Notice what the tongue does after you have swallowed.
Finally, spend a few moments registering the aftermath of this eating. Is there an aftertaste? What does the absence of the raisin feel like? Is there an automatic tendency to look for another? Now take a moment to write down anything that you noticed when you were doing the practice. Here’s what some people who’ve attended our courses said:
The smell for me was amazing I’d never noticed that before.’I felt pretty stupid, like I was in art school or something.’
‘I thought how ugly they looked … small and wrinkled, but the taste was very different from what I would normally have thought it tasted like. It was quite nice actually.’
‘I tasted this one raisin more than the twenty or so I usually stuff into my mouth without thinking.’
The Chocolate meditation
Choose some chocolate – either a type that you’ve never tried before or one that you have not eaten recently. It might be dark and flavoursome,organic or fair-trade or whatever you choose.
The important thing is to choose a type you wouldn’t normally eat or that you consume only rarely. Here goes:
Open the packet Inhale the aroma. Let it sweep over you.Break off a piece and look at it. Really let your eyes drink in what it looks like, examining every nook and cranny.Pop it in your mouth. See if it’s possible to hold it on your tongue and let it melt, noticing any tendency to suck at it.Chocolate has over three hundred different flavours. See if you can sense some of them.
If you notice your mind wandering while you do this, simply notice where it went, then gently escort it back to the present moment After the chocolate has completely melted, swallow it very slowly and deliberately Let it trickle down your throat.
Repeat this with the next piece.
How do you feel? Is it different from normal? Did the chocolate taste better than if you’d just eaten it at a normal breakneck pace?
If we can teach our children, they will learn a great tool to applied in their life