Thoughts on the world, homeopathy, mindfulness and food...
A collection of blog posts - feel free to respond with your thoughts and comments - I love to have feedback - thank you!
I was invited to speak recently at a wonderful study day for Natal Hypnotherapists. I suppose you never really know what the group is going to be like until you've done your talk or session but it may have been one of my favourites so far. Truly beautiful women, helping with one of the most profound steps on a woman's journey and all felt to fully be present during the session which was a real gift. The following meditation, one that I adapted slightly for the session but with the link following which details where I found it online, went down really well and I thought I'd share it with you here. Hope you enjoy and do feel free to post any comments below, via facebook or email to me.
With love and peace, Em x
Take a few conscious breaths. This is a miniature mindfulness meditation we’re going to do.
Most of the time we’re not fully present. We’re not keeping our appointment with life. We can notice this if we visit a cafe or restaurant and tactfully observe people eating. We might notice people reading a paper, or their text messages, while they’re eating. So they’re never really efficiently eating, or reading. Each requires a different part of our human physiology. Yet eating and reading are both forms of consumption, and we are by nature greedy: it’s an animal instinct.
Notice someone who eats an orange. Don’t they peel a slice while they’re eating a slice? So they’re never enjoying just one single, unique slice, as a complete experience, from beginning, middle, to end. So too do people fork their food while they’re already chewing the last mouthful. It’s as if they’re eating everything in one continuous vaccuuming up of food, like a horse putting on a feedbag.
Mindful eating, on the other hand, invites us to be aware of our animal instincts, and rise above them. In so doing, we can become aware of each bite as a messenger of the whole universe.
Just hold up one raisin in your fingers and look deeply at your raisin.
Pinching it lightly between our fingers, we can sense its juice. Looking deeper, we can see in that wateriness in the cloud that rained upon it: the raisin even looks like a miniature cloud.
Put it to your nose and see what it tells you. It smells sweet, but also with a musty, earthy smell. Indeed, looking at it again, we can sense the soil from which it grew. Put it in your palm and heft its weight: slight but palpable.
Consider that it was once a grape, now dried by the sun. Indeed, we can see the sun in the raisin, in its wrinkles. And the sun is present in its atoms thanks to the process of photosynthesis that nourished it. So eating a raisin, we are eating the earth and the sun.
By now, we might notice we’re breathing. We can consider how the raisin too has been breathing. Plants inhale our carbon dioxide, and we inhale their oxygen. So we can also see air in the raisin.
Earth, fire, water, air — all four elements of the universe have come together in this one raisin. The entire cosmos is present in the palm of our hand.
Holding the raisin now up to our ear and crinkling it in our fingers, we can hear its seeds rubbing against each other. Once it was a grape, now it’s a raisin, and the seeds can give rise to future grapes : all part of an unbroken, eternal cycle of transformation.
We’re going to prepare to eat the raisin. Holding it up to our mouth and looking at it without eating, notice our anticipation. This too is part of the raisin, for our minds. So we notice our appetite without actually acting upon it, like noting an itch without scratching it. Enjoy a few conscious breaths, aware of our instinctual urge to eat, and notice how it can dim down in the light of mindfulness. (Raisin meditation can be an evolutionary sport!)
When we’re ready, we watch our fingers placing the raisin to our lips. If we like, we might roll it around a little in our lips, before passing it into our mouth. (Still, we aren’t biting into the raisin just yet.)
Inside our mouth, the raisin meets our tongue. Probe the raisin with our tongue. Please notice how sensitive an organ our tongue is.
Move the raisin around in our mouth. Notice how sensitive our mouths can be. Place the raisin at the roof of our mouth, and suck on it for a few breaths, in final preparation. I liken this sucking to a hug.
Now, take a preliminary bite. Notice how it squishes forth a burst of raisin juice in our mouth.
Our job now is to stay with our breath, and slowly chew. Without swallowing. Notice the impulse to swallow before food is fully chewed. Keeping the raisin in our mouth, still chewing, notice how it transforms in taste as it mixes with our saliva. This way, we’re beginning the digestive process in our mouths (and taking a load off our stomach). Our goal is keep chewing until it is completely liquid.
When we’re thoroughly done chewing, we swallow the raisin. Then we enjoy a few breaths as we notice a kind of aftertaste of the raisin comes back to us. If we enjoy this moment in between each mouthful of meal, we can note when we’ve had enough.
Anyways, in general, notice how different the second raisin is. No two raisins are alike. No two snowflakes are alike. No two moments are alike. No two people are alike. Yet we all share in the present moment. If we’re present, and aware of the present moment, we can continually appreciate the wonders of just being alive. Indeed, the present moment is a wonder-full moment.
It doesn’t take a big shovel to realize this. All it takes is a thimbleful. As simple as a raisin. Conscious breathing coupled with one-pointed concentration on what’s in front of our nose, and the key of mindfulness unlocks the gates for us.
So if you’d like to try the second raisin using the same process of looking, remembering, bringing to the moment the past journey of the raisin, smelling, tasting, chewing and finally swallowing I’ll give you a few moments to do so.
Adapted from: http://www.thichnhathanhsanghas.org/NorCal/category/practices/
I'm a Homeopath working in the Skipton (North Yorkshire) area. I am also able to offer food intolerance testing using Kinesiology and advice around diet and lifestyle.
Em Colley MARH, Practitioner of Classical Homeopathy
BSc(Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience
Laughter Yoga Leader
Focussed Mindfulness Practitioner
Dip (SNHS) Kinesiology
Dip (SNHS) Holistic Nutrition
Certificate in Whole Food, Plant Based Nutrition