I was first introduced to the raisin experiment when I began my Mindfulness training. It’s a great way to identify your awareness to things we see / experience often.
How To Get Ready For Your Raisin Experiment
Before you begin:
- Be warm and comfortable. (I’ve done this meditation when I'm alone in the sauna or steam room at the gym).
- If you can, remove restrictive cloths like jackets.
- Remove your shoes (if you are comfortable doing this).
- Use a comfortable chair with your feet on the floor and hands resting in your lap.
- If you are lying down, lay on a bed or a mat with your arms lying comfortably at your side.
Don't worry about doing it right. Tell yourself that whatever you do will be perfect. The purpose of the body scan meditation is to bring awareness to each part of our body— not to judge and then relax that body part.
Don't listen to the sounds around you, let everything fade into the background.
Before you start your body scan notice the parts of the body in contact with your chair and imagine relaxing any tension. Common areas for tension include your jaws, neck, lower back, shoulders and/or legs.
Begin Eating One Raisin: A First Taste of Mindfulness
Take a raisin in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb. Feel the weight of it.
Imagine that you’ve never seen or heard of the object in your hand.
Take time to really see it; gaze at the raisin with care and full attention.
Explore every part of it, examining where the light shines, the darker hollows, the folds and ridges, and any asymmetries or unique features.
While you’re doing this, what thoughts arise? “Why am I doing this weird exercise?” “How will this ever help me?” or “I hate raisins,” Let these thoughts be / exist and then bring your awareness back to the object.
Gently turn the raisin over between your fingers, exploring its texture, maybe with your eyes closed if that enhances your sense of touch.
Hold the raisin to your ear. Squish it a bit. Does it make a sound? Take note of any sensations you feel.
Holding the raisin beneath your nose, with each inhalation drink in any smell, aroma, or fragrance that may arise, noticing as you do this anything interesting that may be happening in your mouth or stomach.
Notice any thoughts you may be having, such as likes or dislikes, without trying to push them away. What is the source of this thought? Can you remember a positive or negative memory?
Now slowly bring the raisin up to touch your lips, noticing how your hand and arm know exactly how and where to position it.
Gently place the object in the mouth, without chewing, noticing how it gets into the mouth in the first place. Spend a few moments exploring the sensations of having it in your mouth, exploring it with your tongue.
Without swallowing be aware as you gently take a bite. Notice what you experience; feelings, taste and texture in the mouth and how these may change. Where do you need to position it before/during/after you chew?
When you feel ready to swallow the raisin, see if you can first detect the intention to swallow as it comes up, so that even this is experienced consciously before you actually swallow the raisin.
Finally, see if you can feel what is left of the raisin moving down into your stomach, and sense how the body as a whole is feeling after completing this exercise in mindful eating.
Was anything surprising?
Is there anything you noticed about the experience that surprised you?
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