I once found myself sitting in a hospital patient group with a raisin in my hand. What did it feel like? What did it look like? What did it smell like? What did it taste like? At this point, there were murmurs of distaste going around the room as most of the group, myself included, didn’t like raisins.
The raisin exercise was my introduction to mindfulness. I may not have particularly enjoyed the taste, but I did notice the sweet earthy scent and the wrinkled grooves sitting on my tongue for the first time. That one little raisin was bursting with flavour. It proved a point; when you deliberately pay close attention to something, using all of your senses, whilst not being clouded by the past or the future (or the judgement, ‘I don’t like raisins!’), your immediate experience can change in powerful and unexpected ways.
Of course, this exercise doesn’t just have to be done with a raisin. How about chocolate with Easter around the corner? Have a go at this chocolate meditation for a little taste of mindfulness. You may be surprised by what you discover.
The Chocolate Meditation
To begin with, set aside a quiet time and space where you’re unlikely to be disturbed. Read through the guidance to get the general idea of the mediation, but there’s no need to follow it rigidly; allow the experience to guide you. You might like to choose some chocolate you’ve never tried before.
Open the chocolate. Hear the paper rip, the foil scrunch.
Notice the aroma. Is it sweet or bitter? Perhaps there’s an urge to eat it quickly. What does this impatience feel like? Where do you feel it in your body?
Feel the snap as you break a piece off. Place it in the palm of your hand. What does it feel like? Is it smooth or rough? What does it look like? Is it light or dark, plain or patterned?
Take a bite, but don’t yet chew it. What does it feel like melting on your tongue? How do the flavours change as you start to chew? When you swallow, is there a feeling of satisfaction? What does this feel like?
What did you notice? Was it a different experience to how you normally eat chocolate? Maybe the flavours were more intense, or perhaps you felt satisfied by just one piece?