Raisin-practice

To have a first-hand experience of mindfulness i suggest the raisin-practice.

For the practice you need:

  • 10 undisturbed minutes
  • three raisins (or something similar like pieces of an apple or gummi bears)
  • a seat
  • all 5 senses together

So retreat with your raisins and sit down relaxed. Leave room for all arising sensations, thoughts and emotions. Should your awareness wander away from the raisin – get it back kindly. Eat each raisin individually.

Touch and feel

You hold the raisin in your hand, close your eyes, touch and feel the raisin. Sense the raisin between your fingers and try to explain how it feels. Some words to come to mind could be: raw abrasive, dry, smooth, sticky, thin, firm, elastic.

Watch all perceptions that come to mind with curiousity.

Listen

Take the raisin to your ear and discover the sounds that it makes. Do you hear anything? Or maybe only when you move it? How would you describe those sounds? As crinkles, clicks or …? Are the sounds loud, dull, clear or …? Also listen with the other ear!

Smell

Sniff at the raisin and be aware of the notions going through your head. Do both nostrils have the same sensations or different? Does the intensity of the smell change? Possible adjectives: hot, sharp, sweet, greasy, rancid, musty, sour.

Vision

Open the eyes and discover the raisin visually from different angles and distances. How would you describe the raisin at the telephone in terms of colour, texture, shades, sheen? Take as much time as you need, imagine you had never seen a raisin before.

Taste

Lead the raisin to your lips and feel it with them, try to move it with your lips. Do your taste buds come to life? Take the raisin into your mouth slowly but for the moment don’t bite it! Examine the surface with your tongue, move it through your mouth e.g. along the palate. Stay open and curious for all sensations. Does the texture of the raisin change? Place it consciously on the molars – want to bite? Not yet! Plan to bite explicitly, chew it in slow-motion and record the rising senations (need to swallow?) and flavours. Chew until you feel the last noticeable bit, prepare to swallow and watch the process of swallowing. Do you feel the motion starting at throat the down to the stomach? Is the entire raisin gone or are there some remains in your mouth?

Repeat

Try to take as much time for the second raisin but without thinking about the procedure in detail.

Eat the third raisin in the same way as you would normally eat a raisin. Compare the sensations, thoughts and emotions with the former runs.

End

Stay seated calmly for a short time and watch the thoughts that arise.

Conclusion

The three basic principles of mindfulness are illustrated very well by the raisin practice.

Act intentionally

You intend to take some time to enjoy the raisin – not more and not less!

Connect to the Now! Here!

The raisin takes your entire attention, you are not distracted by the past nor focused on the future.

Try not to judge (hastily)

This is the hardest one for me. It is a substantial difference if the raisin tastes “good” or just “sour”. More about that in my article.

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