1.07 Eating a Raisin - audio

Audio: GM- Eating Meditation - Workbook (5 min)

Introduction:
At the beginning of most mindfulness-based stress reduction classes, we introduce this formal practice, which involves eating a raisin mindfully, to demystify the concept of meditation. (If you don’t have a raisin, any small nut or berry will do.)
As you do this practice, put aside all distractions, turn off the phone, and focus direct, clear aware­ness on each aspect and each moment of the experience. If you are reading this meditation, take five minutes or so to do this practice.

Practice:
Place a few raisins in your hand. If you don’t have raisins, any food will do. Imagine that you have just come to Earth from a distant planet without such food.
Now, with this food in hand, you can begin to explore it with all of your senses.
Focus on one of the objects as if you’ve never seen anything like it before. Focus on seeing this object. Scan it, exploring every part of it, as if you’ve never seen such a thing before. Turn it around with your fingers and notice what color it is.
Notice the folds and where the surface reflects light or becomes darker.
Next, explore the texture, feeling any softness, hardness, coarseness, or smoothness.
While you’re doing this, if thoughts arise such as “Why am I doing this weird exercise?” “How will this ever help me?” or “I hate these objects,” then just see if you can acknowledge these thoughts, let them be, and then bring your awareness back to the object.
Take the object beneath your nose and carefully notice the smell of it.
Bring the object to one ear, squeeze it, roll it around, and hear if there is any sound coming from it.
Begin to slowly take the object to your mouth, noticing how the arm knows exactly where to go and perhaps becoming aware of your mouth watering.
Gently place the object in your mouth, on your tongue, without biting it. Simply explore the sensations of this object in your mouth.
When you’re ready, intentionally bite down on the object, maybe noticing how it automatically goes to one side of the mouth versus the other. Also notice the tastes it releases.
Slowly chew this object. Be aware of the saliva in your mouth and how the object changes in consistency as you chew.
When you feel ready to swallow, consciously notice the intention to swallow, then see if you can notice the sensations of swallowing the raisin, sensing it moving down to your throat and into your esophagus on its way to your stomach.
Take a moment to congratulate yourself for taking this time to experience mindful eating.

Questions for Reflection:

What did you notice with the raisin in terms of:

  • sight
  • touch
  • sound
  • smell
  • taste

What, if anything, surprised you about this practice?

Did any thoughts or memories pop up while doing this practice?

Were there elements of this practice that you found challenging, difficult, or easy?

What was your experience of eating with such focused attention on a single object?

What was the relationship between your expectation of eating the raisin and the actual experience of eating the raisin?

Discussion

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