Make Mindfulness a Pleasure, Not a Chore

This excerpt is from a longer article available at

The heart of mindfulness is relaxed awareness of the here-and-now, slowing down, taking the time to notice more and notice more deeply, allowing experience to spontaneously arise, being not doing. As new experiences arise, they can be further explored or simply enjoyed. In addition to practices like sitting meditation, there are many other ways to cultivate this.

Some formal mindfulness practices ask you to focus on something that attracts your attention. Ron Kurtz, for example, instead of using language like “concentrate,” suggests choosing something you are curious about and taking the time to explore it in more detail. In one common mindfulness exercise, for example, you are asked to hold a raisin between two fingers. Notice: What is its color, its texture? What does it smell like? What else do you notice? Then, put it in your mouth. Don’t chew. As it sits in your mouth, how does it change? Do you start salivating? Finally, chew it without swallowing. What is the taste? How does the taste and texture change when you chew? Finally, swallow the raisin.

Not crazy about raisins? Choose a food that you love, and do the exercise.


Photo: Paweł Kuźniar / CC BY-SA 3.0

Paula Derry, Ph.D., LMT, practices Shiatsu, a touch therapy based in Chinese medicine, and integrative bodywork at Ruscombe.

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