Raisin Meditation – Dave Potter


This is the Raisin Meditation. Before
beginning, you want to start with two raisins and a glass of water. So if you
need to go get them, pause the video here and go get them so we can start.
And we’ll begin with a breath meditation, just to sort of get us in the mood for
experiencing the raisins in this way. And so you can just notice how you’re
sitting… How your feet are making contact with the floor, if they’re
making contact with the floor… How your weight is in the chair, or
whatever it is that you’re sitting on… And letting yourself feel the sensations
of contact, of warmth or coolness… How your hands are resting on the counter,
or on your lap, or wherever they are… And we’ll spend a moment just
paying attention to breath. And that’ll mean for you, just, there’s no
right place to feel the breath, it’s just wherever you’re feeling it. It could be
your belly, or it could be your chest, or it could be your nostrils. And if you
want to close your eyes for a moment, you could do that… Just find
the actual sensations of breathing… And noticing there’s… It’s not just a breath in and a breath
out, there’s actually a pause in between, where your breath turns around on its own. And there’s no need to change
your breath in anyway, because you’re breathing just fine.
And we’ll just do this for a few breaths… When you’re ready, letting your eyes
open… And we’ll begin to pay attention to these raisins, because that’s what
this meditation is about, after all. And picking up one the raisins…
And, we want to look at this raisin… I want you to pretend for
a moment like you’d never, Ever, seen a raisin before,
like you just landed from Mars and you wondered what this object is.
You might not even know that it’s edible. And so you’re looking at the,
how the light hits it. And you’re seeing that it has crevices and
indentations… …that it looks different whether
you’re looking at it from the side or you’re looking at it on end.
That its color is… Now, we think of raisins as being black,
but the color might actually have some
brown in it, if you look at it, or some gold. And there’s a certain way it feels in your fingers as you touch it.
You can roll it around in your fingers and feel that… yours might be drier than
mine is, but mine feels kind of pliable. Because if I press it,
it squashes a little bit. You can even see if you can smell
anything. I can detect a little bit of a smell… I don’t have a very good smeller,
but I can smell this raisin a little bit. Now I’m going to suggest you try to do
something that sounds kind of strange, which is see if you can hear your raisin… Now, it’s not going to
make much of a sound, so you’re going to need to give it some help.
So you squeeze it a little bit, and roll it around in your fingers,
applying a little pressure. You might be able to hear some crinkling
or some popping as things readjust inside. And now, taking that raisin, and
bring it to your mouth. And, of course, the tendency is to just pop it in your
mouth, chew it, and eat it, and swallow it, but we’re going to make this a slower
process. So as you bring it to your mouth, placing on your lips,
bring it in the mouth between your teeth, don’t break the skin just yet.
And roll it around in your mouth. And let it visit different parts of
your mouth. Let it go to your palate… Go to the front of your tongue, to the
back of the tongue, over in your cheek. You’ll be like a squirrel and
put it over in your cheek there… Bring it over to the other side. Now, if you’ve been pretty disciplined about
this, you haven’t broken the skin yet, so… When you’re ready,
just gently tap it with your teeth, just enough so you can break the skin. And you may be able to experience
a little burst of flavor. It’s hard to keep from chewing it.
I find myself wanting to chew it now, but just rolling it around.
Feeling the flavor, changing its shape by pushing
it up on your palate… And when you’re ready…
Without taking big bites, just small bites… Maybe you’ll
even be able to hear the bites. Feel the flavor, taste the flavor. And you’ll notice it’s beginning to break up
a little bit into smaller pieces. And it’s both feeling the raisin
in your mouth…. Tasting the flavors, feeling the textures,
hearing the sounds…. And the pieces in your mouth get
smaller and smaller – that is, if you’re able not to already have
swallowed it, which is possible… And pretty soon, the raisin’s gone.
I still taste some of the residual flavor of the raisin… When you’re ready,
taking in a little sip of water… Feeling the coolness of the water as
you swish it around in your mouth and swallow that… Now we have a second raisin. And this raisin, of course, it’s not
the same raisin, it’s a different raisin. You might look and see how much
different than the first raisin. This one I notice for me, it’s a little
bit smaller… It’s actually a little browner than the other one was. And, of
course, the wrinkles on it are different. And this raisin we’re going to explore
a little bit about where it came from. This raisin didn’t always exist as
a raisin. It used to be a grape. It was a grape in a vineyard somewhere.
And that grape needed certain things in order for it to survive and
to grow. It needed sun, it needed soil. It needed a place in which to grow.
It needed water, whether from the sky and rain, or from irrigation.
And if you look really closely… I can just barely see this on this
raisin… There’s a little… …place where the stem was. This is the umbilical cord for
the grape and for the raisin, the place where all the nutrients came in. Nutrients from the soil and
from the sun, from the water… And the soil itself, this raisin couldn’t
exist without the soil. In a way, the raisin IS…the sun
and it IS the soil. In fact, the soil came
probably from volcanic rock ages and ages ago, before it was broken down. The
nutrients in the soil came from plants and animals that have decomposed and
provided nutrients for it – all that’s in the raisin. And
we’re not done yet, because this raisin, when it was still a grape, it got
picked by some laborer, who took it and put it maybe in some cardboard between
the rows, and left it out there to dry or in a drying bin, until it dried enough
to get the wrinkles that we see and the color that we see here.
And then it had to be gathered up, packaged in some way, and
put in a truck to go to a packaging plant. It was put in the kind of container that
you found it in at the grocery store. The trucker had to get it there, driving
on miles and miles of road. Which you couldn’t do without gasoline, which came
from the ground, somewhere, some sort of petroleum product, and somebody built the
truck, so it’s everything… There’s so much that went in to getting this raisin
to you here, now – the grocery store, the clerk, who you purchased it from
when you got it off the shelf, and now here it is on your counter,
and in your hand, this one small raisin, everything, everything’s in this raisin,
the sun, the sky, the rain… In a way, it’s not separate from those.
And that’s really one of the lessons of mindfulness, is to
discover that everything is connected. There isn’t anything really that’s
totally separate from anything else. And now, if you want… Actually, to me it
feels a little sacrilegious to do this, but if you want,
you can eat this raisin. And maybe not as slowly as the first raisin,
but give it some time. Really taste it, hear it, feel it. And over the next week, see if you can bring the same sense of
curiosity and exploration to the things you do in daily life, like walking the
dog, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, walking to the car on your way to work,
or driving on the highway. Maybe you shouldn’t do it driving
on the highway just yet, but things where you can just really notice
where you are and what you’re doing. That’s going to be your informal
practice for this week. And for the 30-minute daily formal practice that
you’ll do, this will be a body scan. And you want to see if you can
bring that kind of curiosity and attention to body sensation, and we’ll guide you through that when
you find the recording session on the website. And for this week and beyond, whether it be with a body scan or
a sitting meditation or yoga, you want to be gentle with yourself
with all of these practices. And, even though… you might remember from the
Getting Started Worksheet, you listed some things that you wanted to have happen…
See if you can just let those go for a while and not have expectations of
how your experience is supposed to be. Some people think that it
ought to be peaceful, or it ought to be pleasant, or there ought to
be some sort of wonderful peak experience. But just let your experience
be your experience, and that’s what we’ll do with
all these experiences.

39 comments

  1. Hi thank you Dave, this was wonderful. I now will see raisins in a very positive different light/perspective…. will practice this on an upcoming flight. Thanks again!

  2. Dear Dave , thank you so much for your on-line course.  I heard about mindfulness for years, but only  due to your site I have started training at last. Thank you for your care and kindness ( Sweden, Stockholm)

  3. there is yet an other dimension to it;
    though the genetic information in a raisin afaik isnt present anymore,
    the raisin isnt only the sum of its ingredients but is also a result of its ancestors, evolution and not to forget; an unbroken strain of continued life for billions of years. and as mentioned, atoms that were forged in a star. the realm of reality is a strange kingdom.

  4. Thank you so much. This inspires me to facilitate a group in my neighborhood.  Thank you for the tools and all the work that went into this Labor of Love.

  5. Thanks Dave. I will be doing this one repeatedly as I have a lot to learn about that state of non-judgmental observing mindfulness.  With a background in environmental health I found it hard to quiet the mental 'programming' right/wrong – good/bad sciences of the exposures of workers in vineyards, sustainable water management , impact of fertilizer/pesticide usage vs organic, etc. Very helpful, thank you.

  6. Wonderful meditation! Thank you, Dave! And thank you Earth, Sun, and Water for proving us food and everything we need to live a happy life.

  7. We didn't have any raisins, so we used organic coffee beans. 0 carbs 😁 Seriously, this is a helpful video series. Thank you.

  8. No raisins but used popcorn instead. Thank you for your course. I've heard of and practiced mindfulness with yoga and meditation but have wanted to learn it "properly" with some structure.

  9. wow that was totally and completely wonderful. I am going to share that with my family at our upcoming camping trip. Brilliant, thank you.

  10. Dear Dave, thank you soon much for all the hard work you did to pull up a wonderful free course, thank you for your kindness and thank you thank you thank you

  11. Thank you so much, Dave, for this course! I am on a limited income…going into retirement…and am most grateful to have found this through the mental illness society in my city. I appreciate your kindness & intend to complete your course, no matter how imperfectly:) I know it took a tremendous amount of work. Bless you!

  12. At first I wondered what in the world a Raisin Meditation might be, but now it all makes sense! Very cool, mind-opening experience. Thank you for this and all the work you do.

  13. Hi everyone! Thanks you so much Dave for sharing and doing that the way you do: with patience, compation and skills. Really appreciate this video which is the first of your programme. I am so delighted to have started it. Very kind of you. Regards from Switzerland Greg

  14. Thank you Dave. I didn't have money for a "normal" mindfulness course, and yours got me started. Now I have money, and I have bought other courses, but yours is still the best for me. You are so kind, and doing a great help to the world.

  15. I realized that I myself think how everything comes to be. Wow at least I feel vindicated that he was thinking it before me.

  16. Oh my Lord what a profound meditation. It brought me to tears. Big tears. I feel so different in my skin, on this earth. I feel differently, think differently about every living thing. I feel an overwhelming sense of love, compassion and peace. I want to go out and hug my chooks and sit with my plants. We are connected, interdependent, living, breathing, growing together.
    I have been meditating for a year now. This one just changed my life.

  17. Loved this meditation thanks Dave. Didnt have any raisins in the house, i will buy some tthough! But i was right there with your interactions and another little bit of understanding of paying attention fell into place.

  18. I followed the raisin meditation with a……. cigarette. Now I am positive that mindfulness will help me quit smoking. Thank you so much.

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