Stressed? So tell me, how well do you think you know a raisin?
I recently got the chance to have 10 mindfulness stress based reduction classes for free. As I am a student as well as shop owner, despite thinking of myself as easy going I have experienced my fair share of stress lately so was looking forward to the classes.
Mindfulness is about living in the moment, being able to step away from the constant chatter of thoughts and of planning this and that, even if just for a little bit, but with the intention of hopefully living your life in a calmer and more thoughtful way.
I’ll write more about mindfulness in the future but for now I want to share with you the first excercise we did – The Raisin.
For this experiment you will need:
An open and enquiring mind.
Take the raisin and close your eyes. Try and imagine you are from mars or lala land or whereever, and that you have never known a raisin. Slowly run your fingers over the raisin, noting any curves, jagged bits, smoothness, crevaces and so on – do this for a few minutes until you have truly experienced the landscape of the raisin.
Open your eyes and study the raisin, try holding it up to the light to see the different colours, and again observe and feel if you like all the surfaces of it – does it remind you of anything? Perhaps a lunar landscape (ok maybe the wrong colour but whatever!)
Now smell the raisin, take some deep sniffs. and now its time to hear the raisin (!) put it by your ear and squish it a little bit. (yes amazingly raisins do make noises and it differs from raisin to raisin!)
Finally – taste the raisin – chew it up slowly and thoughtfully, allowing the taste and texture and the sensations of eating it to take over. This is perhaps the most amazing bit – something which you may do habitually eg shoving several raisins in at once without thinking, becomes a totally different experience. If like me you don’t actually like raisins, you may find that since the taste is stronger than ever, its a bit yuck (altho eating them is not compulsory for the excercise!) but it proves the point that much of what we experience ignores the full depth of the experience.
The raisin excercise shows us how experience can be transformed by bringing curiousity in what we do, and this is frequently drawn upon in mindfulness classes, where we are invited to be curious about sensations in the body and mind that we think we are super familiar with but are probably not – and this can bring new joys to our lives! Yay!
I hope you enjoyed your raisin, I’ll be writing more about mindfulness in the future!