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12. How to practice Mindful Eating: script

Thanks to Cassandra Bachrach for her help to transcribe this script from our Mindful Eating YouTube video.

The Mindful Eating script

Please hold a sultana in your hand.

Take hold of the sultana between your finger and your thumb. Then, close your eyes.

Now, put all your focus on the sultana, feel the texture, roll it between your finger and your thumb. Sense any patterns on the upper side, the lower side and the edges and the ends.

You’ve never met this sultana before. Every sultana is different. What is this sultana like in texture and feel? You might like to move it between your finger and thumb, turning it over, turning it from end to end, sensing every detail of this sultana as deeply as you can.

Just get to know the sultana. Now very slowly, very, very slowly so you have awareness of how your hand is moving, how your arm is moving, you are going to bring this sultana up in front of the eyes.

Now allow your eyes to open so that you look fully at this sultana for the first time.

What does this sultana look like? What do you notice about the shape and the pattern on the sultana? Does it look like you imagined it would look like when you felt it? How wrinkled is it? Is one side the same as the other side? Look at the ends. Does the pattern change on each end?

Can you can see that at some point maybe the sultana is attached to something greater?

Notice the colour. Notice the colour variation.

Now, very gently, allow your eyes to close again.

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Mindfully noticing with all your senses

Bring the sultana to the nose. Is there any sense of a smell from this sultana? Does it give off any scent and perfume? You might try it with one nostril breathing in any scent. Then try it with the other nostril. Breathe in any smell. Maybe it does not have any smell. Just be curious. Discover for yourself for your particular sultana.

Next, very slowly, again noticing how your arm moves, bring your sultana to your ear. Does this sultana make any sound? Sometimes food makes noise. What happens if you squeeze the sultana just outside your ear? Does it make a crackly or popping noise? Or, is there no sound? Roll the sultana slowly between your finger and thumb, noticing any sounds at all.

You may never have thought of the sound of a sultana before but we have many senses of which we can be mindful.

Allow your hand to return to your lap, still holding the sultana between your finger and your thumb.

Feel the sultana resting where it is.

Bringing the sultana to your mouth mindfully

Now very slowly, noticing the movement of your arm, your hand, and your fingers, bring the sultana very slowly in front of your mouth. Do you know where your lips are? Sense where you need to bring the sultana to the centre point of the mouth, without touching the sultana to the lips. Gently hold it there without it touching the lips.

Pay attention to anything that may be happening inside your mouth. Is there any anticipation inside your mouth of having a sultana in there? Your tongue? Saliva? Teeth? And what about your mind? Do you have any anticipation? Some people eat the food before it has even touched their lips.

They have anticipated the taste before it’s actually happened.

Are you doing this or are you totally focused on the sultana between your fingers? The mind and body are deeply connected. Sometimes there is great anticipation before food arrives.

Now allow yourself to move the sultana into your mouth very slowly. Rest the sultana between your teeth but without biting it. Just rest it there. Notice if anything happens inside your mouth when you rest the sultana there. Do you get a little boost of saliva? Is the tongue anticipating the arrival? Is anything happening in your teeth? Pay full attention to what happens.

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Mindfully taking the first bite

Now, very slowly, take a small bite of the sultana but do not swallow at this stage. Just bite it between your teeth.

What else happens in your mouth? What does the tongue want to do? Is anything happening to the saliva? Or to the cheeks? Is there any sense of taste, any anticipation?

Now allow yourself very slowly to chew this part of the sultana but still not swallow. Notice what your tongue does to the bit of sultana. Does your tongue move it around your mouth? Does saliva come into your mouth? Is there any movement of your jaw, your cheeks? What does this bit of sultana feel like as you start to chew it? Is there any noise or any squelch?

Slowly, as you prepare to swallow, notice what happens. Notice the action of the tongue. Notice the saliva. As you swallow a piece of the sultana, notice the taste. Notice the afterglow of your swallow.

Mindfully taking a second bite of the sultana

Now take another small bite of the sultana and repeat this process. Chew this piece of sultana very slowly and mindfully, notice everything that is happening in your mouth and to the sultana. How big of chunk are you biting each time? What is the work of the tongue?

What happens before you swallow? How often are you chewing the sultana before you swallow it? What happens after you swallow?

Now take another small bite of the sultana and repeat this process.

Do this so in the end you have taken 5 or 6 bites of the sultana. Chew and swallow each one mindfully, with full awareness of what happens at each stage.

Allow yourself to keep chewing the sultana until the whole sultana has been chewed and swallowed.

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Mindfully noticing the afterglow

Once the sultana has gone, notice the after-effect in your mouth. What is happening in your mouth? Does your tongue want to clean your teeth? Is there still saliva? Is there any lingering taste? What is your mind saying to you? Are you commenting on this process? Or are you allowing yourself to stay focused with the sultana and the taste that lingers behind?

Monitor your mind in this process. Allow yourself to focus quietly; monitoring what happens in your mouth now that you have swallowed the sultana.

Allow yourself to stay in the present moment, noticing whatever happens with your mind and body. (Long pause….. eyes closed. Quiet.)

We are coming to the end of the meditation time. Notice where your mind is. What have you learnt? How do you feel? How does your body feel? Has anything changed in your mind, is it calmer, slower, less full of thoughts? Have you gone back to thinking about other things or are you still in the present moment right now?

This is the end of the meditation, now slowly come out of the meditation and open your eyes and come back into the room.

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