Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Mindfulness classic

I did an experiment.  You see, almost every mindfulness text ever written describes the classic raisin exercise, whereby one eats a single raisin as slowly as possible, taking time to hold each tiny raisin bite in one's mouth, noticing its flavour and texture, and swallowing only once that bite of raisin has been fully explored and appreciated.  The point is to reacquaint us with what it's like to fully experience the present moment.

The first time I tried this experiment I used an almond, because I thought keeping a raisin in my mouth for that long would make me gag.  A few weeks later I was at a yoga workshop and we did the exercise with an actual raisin.  I didn't gag.  Instead, I was surprised to be washed in feelings of happiness and well-being.  An image of the familiar red box of SunMaid raisins popped in my head, and I knew a dim memory of primary school lunches carefully packed by my mom was being lit up by one or two sparks along some long-abandoned neural pathway.

Observations from my short-lived* experiment:
  • The first bite of a Christmas spiced pecan is satisfyingly crispy.  The second, third, and fourth bites are pretty much flavourless.  So I'm not sure what it is that entices me to eat the entire batch that I made for hostess gifts.
  • Kimchi by the individual forkful = flavour extravaganza.  It's the video for Gangnam Style in one's mouth, and all the good parts are missed when one eats it straight out of the jar standing in front of the fridge.  I had never before fully registered all the facets of its complex medley of sourness, spicyness, and saltiness.  Who needs chips?  Not me.  And, I don't need more than three bites of kimchi when I take the time to actually taste it.  Good news, since the kind I like to buy is REALLY expensive. (I know, I should make my own. I'm a little nervous after some failed experiments with home-made ginger beer and fermented figs.)
  • I don't actually like milk chocolate - not even the expensive kind.  Too cloying. 
  • *Eating each bite mindfully gets boring really fast.  Hence the short-livedness of this experiment.
Oh, if you're wondering what the good part of the Gangnam Style video is, it's not the yoga part.  It's the part with Peter Mansbridge.

Speaking of classics (can Gangnam be considered a classic yet?  Or should we wait until 2014?), here's a video called Top Hat Classic.  It's totally unrelated to mindful eating.

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