Friday, February 17, 2012

The Chocolate Meditation from the book: Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World

I just started a new book called Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World  by Mark Williams, PhD and Danny Penman, PhD. I heard Mark Williams being interviewed on NPR a few weeks back and decided I had to read it.

What the authors accomplished (quite easily, I'd say) is to write about how mindfulness affects our brain activity and how it can change our lives. I've heard so much about mindfulness through my study of yoga, but these gentlemen take it further. It seems they found proof of what meditators for centuries have known all along: Meditation on a regular basis can improve our lives in measureable ways from attitude to disease fighting.

I'm only in the first quarter of the book, but I found an activity that I thought was really intriguing. It's called "The Chocolate Meditation". The idea of this activity is to get some chocolate that you normally don't eat to use for the meditation. For example, if you are a milk chocolate lover, try dark chocolate for this activity and vice versa.

The rules are simple:
  • Open packet, inhale aroma, let it consume you.
  • Break off piece and really look at it, examine every aspect of it.
  • Pop in mouth, resisting the urge to chew it or suck on it...just let it melt on your tongue. Observe the flavors.
  • If your mind wanders, gentle bring your attention back to the chocolate.
  • Once the chocolate has completely melted, swallow slowly, observing how it glides down your throat.
  • Continue until desired amount of chocolate is finished.
  • Observe how you feel eating chocolate this way vs. wolfing it down.
Write about it if you'd like...even better, share here if you wish. I plan on doing this after I go shopping for the perfect chocolate bar. I will post the results. Have fun with this!


Amy Whelan said...

OK, I decided to do the chocolate meditation this morning and what I found was intriguing and disturbing at the same time.

First, when I opened the small cup-shaped package purchased at Hallmark, I saw that the milk chocolate had color variations in it--not quite a swirl, but patches that were either lighter or darker than the overall appearance. Then I started smelling it and my salivary glands became overactive. I took a bite and allowed it to melt on my tongue. I wanted to suck it and move my tongue around to start to disolve it. I resisted the desire, but only briefly. Eventually, I could no longer stand it and I started to suck on it. I did stop myself briefly, and here's where the disturbing portion of my experiment starts. I began to gag! I did not like the silky chocolate pooling in my mouth with so much saliva. It was really making me sick! So I had to swallow it before it was completely melted.

The authors in this book remind us not to judge. Of course I wanted to say, "It was such a wonderfully eye-opening experience that I really want to savor the chocolate like this always! I'm transformed!" Sorry guys, not so. I realized this about my self. I do not know how to let something melt in my mouth completely without actively engaging my articulators. I mean, come on! I chew yogurt and pudding when I eat it.

So, as disappointing as it may be, I am not a savorer of chocolate. I need to eat it!

Amy Whelan said...

OK, never hit "publish comment" before you proof read! The word is dissolve, not disolve! UGH!

Jeff Whelan said...

Hmm. Maybe I should try that with ice cream.

Amy Whelan said...

Yes you should!!!