The Raisin Meditation is one of the meditation practices used in MBSR and Mindful Eating programs. We use this meditation in the first class of A Mindful Way to Eating. The intention of this practice brings acute awareness to your senses and ultimate eating habits. Here are steps for this meditation practice:
Holding - Take a raisin (or your choice of dried fruit) 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?
Seeing - Take time to really 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.
Touching - Turn the raisin over between your fingers, exploring its texture. How does it feel between the forefinger and thumb of the other hand? Plump or dry? Spongy with give?
Smelling - Now, holding it beneath your nose, see what you notice with each inhale. Does it have a scent? Let it fill your awareness. And if there is no scent, or very little, notice this as well.
Placing - Slowly take the raisin to your mouth and notice how your hand and arm know exactly where to put it. And then gently place the raisin in your mouth. Notice how your tongue moves to receive it. Without chewing, simply explore the sensations of having it on your tongue. Gradually begin to explore the raisin with your tongue (continuing for 30 seconds).
Chewing - When you’re ready, consciously, slowly, take a bite into the raisin and notice the effects in your mouth. Notice any tastes that are released. Feel the texture as your teeth bite into the chewy raisin skin. Continue chewing slowly, but do not swallow just yet. Notice what is happening in the mouth. Notice the sensations and saliva and other effects.
Swallowing - 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 for swallowing. See if you can follow the sensations of swallowing the raisin. If you can, consciously sense it as it moves down your throat into your stomach. And if you don’t swallow it all in one go, consciously notice a second or even a third swallow, until it is all gone. Notice what the tongue does after you have swallowed.
Upon completion - 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? How does your stomach feel?
These moment by moment awareness and response notices are a focused meditation. By applying these skills to your eating habits, you can go from eating on autopilot to eating with intention. Your body loves you to consume food with intention. Try to eat with more awareness using all of your senses for this pleasurable practice. Practice and use of your awareness will increawse your intuition ... you are honing wonderful skills for living more mindfully.