Raisin meditation is a mindfulness exercise that requires you to focus your mind on the present moment using all your senses - what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch. The idea is that by focusing all your attention on the tiny raisin, you help to bring your mind into the moment and train it to notice the present.
The lowly raisin has been a favoured occupant of the school lunch-box for generations. Nowadays, these unassuming grapes offer more than just a boost to our diet – they’re also a valuable tool in improving our mental wellbeing.
The technique sounds simple, but for a society constantly bombarded with stimulation, being still and present can be tough. If you’re new to mindfulness, you should start with our guides on how to breathe mindfully and how to master the body scan.
When you’re comfortable with the basics, it’s time grab a raisin and let our resident psychological health expert, Eugene Farrell, talk you through the process. Don’t like raisins? Don't worry. You can use any food or drink for the practise.
How do I practise raisin meditation?
Before you begin, find a quiet spot where you can sit down and relax. You might find taking a few deep breaths will help you loosen the body and bring your mind to your practise. Once you're comfy, pick up the raisin and hold it in your hand.
- LOOK at the raisin. Really concentrate. Let your eyes roam over the fruit and pick out all the details– the colour, areas of light and shade, any ridges or shine. Before moving on, you might want to close your eyes, as this can heighten your other senses and help you focus.
- TOUCH the raisin. Feel its smallness in your palm. Explore the raisin’s texture with your fingers. Is the skin waxy? Are there any edges? It is soft or hard?
- SMELL the raisin. Bring it close to your nose and with your deep inhalations and exhalations, concentrate on any scents and fragrances you can detect. Does it smell sweet? Or perhaps earthy? Has this triggered your taste buds or made your tummy grumble?
- TASTE the raisin. Place it in your mouth, noticing how your hand instinctively knows where to go. Don’t chew yet, just spend some time concentrating on how the raisin feels on your tongue. Turn it over in your mouth and feel it’s texture on the roof of your mouth.Take one or two bites into the fruit, without swallowing it yet. Fix your mind on the sensations just released into your mouth. How does it taste? How does this develop as the moments pass? How has the raisin changed? Do the smaller pieces of fruit feel different?
- HEAR the sounds you make as you chew it and swallow. Notice When you have really explored the sensation of the raisin in your mouth, notice your intention to swallow it and then follow with the physical action.
If you can, track the sensation of the raisin going into your tummy. Now take a moment to notice how your whole body feels.
When you are ready, start to awaken your mind. You might want to move the hands and feet a little, slowly open your eyes and take a few deep breaths.
With the meditation exercise now complete, you can carry on with your day when you’re ready – there’s no hurry.
As always, practise makes perfect with mindfulness so the more time you can devote, the more being mindful will come naturally to you. If you’re looking for a goal, however, our #TRYit challenge tasks you to try three 30-minute sessions of this every week.
Next, we'll build on the breathing and body scan exercises, and raisin meditation, to learn how to bring mindfulness into everyday life.
University of Minnesota: how to eat mindfully
Greater Good in Action (Berkeley)
West Virginia University