During the first Introduction to Meditation class in May, a participant asked the questions: “What is mindfulness? What is meditation? Are they the same? What’s the difference?” Legit!
Mindfulness is the way we hope to walk around in the world. Meditation is a tool to help get us there. Since that day, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. How can we walk around more mindfully? How can we begin to notice?
There is a sensory meditation exercise that can serve as a gateway to this:
Find a comfortable seat in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted. Take a few breaths to settle. Use all the time you need to settle in. No need to rush this. Close your eyes. Now, think of your favorite fruit or vegetable. What does it look like? What color is it? Is it round, oblong, small, large, skinny, fat? Does it have a texture – nobby or smooth?
Take a few breaths as you see it. What does it feel like? Rough, slick, soft, hard, fuzzy, prickly? Heavy or light? Does it have a skin? Seeds? A leafy cap? In your imagination, turn it over in your hands. Breathe. Hold it to your nose. What does it smell like? Is it pungent or subtle? Does the smell bring back a memory? Breathe.
When you prepare it for eating, does it make a sound? Does it crunch, or squish, or snap? Do you hear the knife slicing it? Can you hear the gentle tearing sound as it is peeled? Take a few breaths. Now, taste it. Yummmm. Juicy? Sour? Sweet? Savory? Enjoy it in its fullness. Breathe. Spend as long as you like in enjoyable contemplation. Take your time. You may want to repeat a step. Marry the observation with the breath.
You may never think of this food in the same way again! Use this technique every time you have the chance. Try it before you buy that shirt or handbag. Nothing stops an impulse buy like actually fully noticing the object of desire! Use it while you do housework. Feel the dishwater. Smell the clean laundry, or the dirty laundry!
For more exercises, please join me for Intro to Meditation 2.0 on Saturday, July 20, from 2:00-3:30pm. If you missed the first class in May, you won’t be behind. We’ll take all the time we need to find a comfortable seat, discuss any questions, and work into the breath.
If you attended the first class, you won’t be bored! There will be more techniques to try. We’ll dive a little deeper into how to create a sacred space of your own in your home and work into additional breathing techniques, and there will be more resources to look over. Let’s create another enjoyable, interactive session together! Namaste.