Saturday, June 03, 2006

Apple meditation

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Here's an exercise you can do with children but it works well with grownups too! I found it in Mindfulness and Psychotherapy edited by Germer, Siegel and Fulton:

Every child is given an apple. First, the children reflect on the apple as part of the interconnected web of kinship with all life.

"Where did it come from? The store? How did it get to the store? Where was it before? Where did the apple tree come from? A blossom? A tree? A seed? What nourished its growth? Rain? Earth? Sunlight? How many people, what kinds of work, helped bring this apple from the tree into your hand?

Then the children are taught an eating meditation.

"Before eating the apple, take a close look at it. What colors shape, size do you see? Smell it. What does it smell like? How does it feel in your hand? Don't bite it yet! Get to know the apple, and notice: Are you in a hurry to take a bite? Slowly, take a bite, but don't swallow it yet! Discover what your tongue does while you chew. Chew in slow motion and see if you can feel your tongue moving the apple around and pushing it toward your teeth. What else happens? Is there a burst of tastes? What does it taste like? Is it sweet? Does it make you want more? Do you want to quickly take another bite before you swallow this one? What happens if you do that?"

The children learn how to slow down and be mindful of their sense impressions and impulses. They see the connection between pleasurable sensation, wanting, and being in a hurry to get more.

This is a wonderful exercise in contemplation. Try it with yourself. Then if you have a child in your life you might try it as a game with the child. Any experience in mindfulness is all to the good.

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