October 24, 2011

Meditation made Simple with Gourmet Chocolate
Instead of images or visualization, use the awareness of taste to still the mind.

It’s definitely a treat when something good gets even better and better. That appears to be the case with dark chocolate which researchers say can reduce blood pressure, relieve pain, raise the good cholesterol, promote alertness and absorb free radicals. Add to that recent research which claimed eating dark chocolate may lower levels of stress hormones.

Tasting chocolate is a wonderful meditation for beginners, of course, we’re all beginners no matter how long we have been meditating.. Taste as a type of guided visualization can become mindfulness experience—a practice in becoming fully present— by focusing on a specific taste. I use the taste of chocolate because it is so easy to introduce to everyone.

Begin with the first inward breath, allowing a small piece of chocolate to melt on the tongue. Focus on the taste and stay fully present in the moment, as the chocolate melts and the taste develops. Breathe in the aromatic fragrance of the cacao and concentrate on the sweetly bitter and intensely dark flavors as they develop. Become fully present and aware while flavors develop, appreciate what you have, and where you are right now.

The next step, according to Kita, completes the meditative moment. Allow the thoughts about the tastes of the chocolate to drift away. This will leave an empty space in the mind, and as the taste diminishes, don’t allow a different thought or anything to replace the awareness of the taste. The mind will want to jump back in so quickly with its own chatter. Remind yourself to focus, return to the taste that was just present on your tongue to maintain awareness of the moment. Hold the thought about the chocolate taste for a moment, then release, and let the mind back to nothing.

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