Friday, June 12, 2015

Zen and the raisin

If only I had a raisin.

Seems like there’s always something standing in the path of my peace of mind. 

How can a person cultivate mindfulness, one of the primary components of happiness, if there’s no raisin in the house? 

I bought raisins specifically for this purpose!  Little boxes of raisins. 

But before I could settle in to test the “casual” practice of Raisin Meditation – to cultivate mindfulness, reduce stress, and enjoy everyday pleasures – some of the crass male-types in my home consumed my wrinkled talismen.  How gauche!

No Zen state for you!

Oh we have cranberries!  But what good is a cranberry in a situation like this?  Not the same.  A distraction. 

Bananas?  Yes, we have no bananas.  But we do have clementines!  So cute!  And yummy.  But alas, flawed by virtue of their relative size and the simple fact that Greater Good in Action,Science-Based Practices for a Meaningful Life, calls for a RAISIN!

How else can you have Raisin Meditation?  Duh.

This is a perfect example of the difficulties of the modern age.  A person seeking her center, that well of serenity deep within, goes about collecting the necessary items to facilitate a deep, deep meditative state.  She builds a nest of contentment where she plans to delve daily for the requisite period of five minutes required of someone like herself, a casual chaser of sagacity, and her raisins are devoured in a savage act of mindlessness!

Just so you’re aware – if you want actual perception of the cosmos, you have to move up to a 15 minute commitment at the “moderate” level of happiness building, perhaps with a “Savoring Walk.” 

Then of course, you’ll go to “intense,” with one of the strenuous practices unheard of in the 21st Century, like Active Listening.

Forget it.  I will start small.  I live in the real world after all!  Greater Good can’t expect me to drop everything in my modern life and just walk around all day long savoring things!  Yeesh! 

What does it entail, “savoring”?  Relishing?  Cherishing?  Who has the time? 

Don’t get me wrong.  I savor.  I devote precious moments to treasuring stuff!  On occasion.  Just this afternoon I was appreciating my shoe horn. 

But, I don’t want to go crazy!  Over meditate.  There are bound to be dangers there, right?  I mean you can’t go totally OM without some repercussions.  You have to develop a tolerance!

Better to start small and build on your success, right?  Baby steps.

So, casually, “by increasing awareness of internal mental and physical states, mindfulness can help people gain a greater sense of control over their thoughts, feelings, and behavior in the present moment.” 

Thus, Raisin Meditation.  I’ll buy my Sun Maids – hide them in my sock drawer! – and I’ll be ready to transcend.  

Let’s review the process:  Oh good.  A simple, eight step system that will send me on my way to nirvana.  Or at least on a Savory Walk.

So here we go – Raisin Meditation: 

Step 1.  Holding: Take a raisin and hold it in the palm of your hand or between your finger and thumb.  Check.

Step 2.  Seeing: Take time to really focus on the raisin; gaze at the raisin with care and full attention.  Oka-a-ay. 

Examine the highlights, where the light shines, the darker hollows, the folds and ridges, and any asymmetries or unique features. 

I don’t know.  That’s a lot of seeing.  But whatever.

3. Touching: Turn the raisin over between your fingers, exploring its texture.  Maybe do this with your eyes closed if that enhances your sense of touch. 

I can see why a private place is best.

4. Smelling: Hold the raisin beneath your nose.  As you do this, notice anything interesting that may be happening in your mouth or stomach. 

Interesting?  It will take more than one raisin for my tummy to take notice.  Can we cut to the chase here? 

Yadda yadda yadda; 5, 6, 7 and 8 – placing, tasting, swallowing, and following.

Wait – “Following”? 

Step 8.  Following: See if you can feel the raisin moving down into your stomach and sense how your body as a whole is feeling after you have completed this exercise.

Hungry.  Enlightened maybe, but hungry definitely.