So the raisin….
As part of our meditation module we spoke a bit about mindfulness. After a session of Yoga Nidra we were told to close our eyes and something small was placed in our hands.
Taking care to notice every tiny detail we were told to feel it, smell it, rub it on our lips, and finally put it in our mouths.
No chewing yet though! We were then asked to slowly start to taste the raisin (we had worked out at this point what it actually was.) We were told to take note of EVERY sensation that followed.
- What did it feel like in our mouths?
- What was the texture?
- What did our tongues and mouths do?
- What did it taste like in different areas of our mouth?
- How did it make us feel?
- What thoughts came to mind?
Slowly we were allowed to take one or two bites and then again notice all the details. We were given 15minutes to eat the one raisin.
The idea of the ‘Raisin Meditation’ is that in performing very simple everyday things, such as eating a raisin, we never really take the time to notice and be mindful of the details. When we take a shower, or brush our teeth, or drink a cup of tea, we normally rush through it without noticing what we are actually doing. Instead we are most likely thinking about all the things we need to do or haven’t done! We aren’t fully awake to, or aware of, so many moments in life. This doesn’t mean we have to get excited about eating raisins or brushing our teeth, but the idea is to just become conscious of the fact that we are performing these tasks instead of daydreaming all the time. We are often living in our heads rather than living in the present moment and therefore are missing some of the tastes, smells, textures of every day life.
Mindfulness has been an amazing thing in my life over the last 6 months, it has helped me concentrate more on the present instead of worrying about what has previously happened or what will happen. I first came across the raisin test in a book I am reading called ‘Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world.’ This book gives you an 8 week Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy programme that I will be starting when I head back to London. So far the book has taught me a lot but the most important thing for me has been realising the simple idea of: Thoughts aren’t facts.
We could all do with slowing down a little, appreciating the little things that in turn will help us stay more present, instead of worrying about what has happened or what might happen. Try the raisin test, for some people it changes their life…. For some people it doesn’t… but then maybe you could give the ‘Chocolate Meditation’ a go….