One of my dear colleagues at work, Louise, has prompted this article. Many thanks, Louise. We met up in the London office last week and she mentioned to me, that she loved one of the articles I had written - the one about teaching children mindfulness - the link to the article is here - Mindfulness - How to Introduce Mindfulness to Children part 2 http://martinsummerhay.livejournal.com/3
We discussed the idea of the quick introductions to Mindfulness, the Raisin technique and then the one about chocolate. I spoke about the passion and the fun of doing the chocolate mindfulness exercise. I have subsequently realised that it is over two years since I did it myself.
I have over the past two years almost completely stopped eating chocolate, and sweets, I think I have eaten chocolate twice. I have changed my diet to more fruit, nuts and raw vegetables as snack foods.
So in honour of Louise, I give you my take on the chocolate mindfulness exercise. I did this at the weekend and the following are my notes:
Take some chocolate, in my case, it is 70% dark chocolate. You can choose anything you desire. Your favorite could be white, milk, infused or just plain chocolate. Snap off a single square. That is all you are going to need. Trust me.
Now, you are going to savour every single aspect of the chocolate, the sight, the smell, taste, texture in your mouth and the afters. The after effect.
So, I have taken the 70% chocolate square and I am looking at it. When was the last time you looked at a square of chocolate? Normally, we snap off a bit and straight into the mouth it goes. Not this time. I looked at the square and it was matt in colour, dark brown, almost black, but wait. There were flecks of something in the mix. tiny reflections in the surface.
Next, I smelt it. Take a deep in breath with your nose just above the surface of the chocolate. Breath in the chocolate. It smells of warm earth, a hint of orange, this is plain chocolate, no flavours, so must be a citrus association. It makes me think of wet woods. Strange.
Next, take the square and I place it on my tongue. Do not suck it, do not chew it, just let it rest. What am I experiencing? Caramel; warmth; bitterness; saliva starts to come to the fore. Now burnt caramel and hints of sweetness, intense sweetness.
Allow yourself to slowly suck on the chocolate. Go on one suck. One suck only. Oh my god - OMG! What a taste explosion. Eyes closed and I can feel the tastes exploding on my tongue. Depth of pure chocolate, the sweet bitterness cascading all over my mouth. The pure pleasure of the taste.
Wait, pause, wait, pause. So hard. I want to chew. I want to macerate the chocolate and get the rush. No. Let the feeling slowly build.
Now I allow myself to make one rotation of my jaw - to crush the square of chocolate. Eyes closed, I can see stars as the taste sensation of the chocolate explodes across my mouth - bitter, sweet, pure cocoa delight. stickiness, texture on my teeth and tongue.
Now I allow myself to chew and completely eat the rest of the square.
The taste sensation explosion has gone. I am left with an after glow. A residual feeling of pleasure and bittersweet cocoa.
Wow, now I remember why I loved and desired chocolate so much. Will I have the rest of the bar? No. One square was enough.
Go on, you try it. Try to hold a single square of chocolate - your favourite kind - in your mouth, without chewing on it.
I leave you with this thought.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt