It’s Chocolate Week from 10th to 16th October 2016 in the UK, and I thought this would be perfect timing to describe a meditation practice that almost everyone will enjoy, even if (or especially if) they haven’t done any meditation before, because it involves chocolate! And almost everyone likes chocolate. Plus dark chocolate may even be good for you, athough not all the claims may be fully accurate.
I first practised chocolate meditation on a 4-day yoga course with David Sye – his focus is very much on enjoying life, to appreciate things, allow yourself to experience pleasure, and not to feel guilty for that. You can bring that into this meditation, or just focus on the practice and the sensations.
Here’s how to do it:
- Sit comfortably and place one small piece (about the size of a thumbnail or so) of chocolate on a plate in front of you.
- Close your eyes and spend 5-10 breaths settling the body, mind and breath.
- Then open your eyes and look at the chocolate and imagine eating it, try to picture the sensations in your mouth of what chocolate tastes like, the feelings it produces in you. Spend about 5+ breaths doing this.
- Pick up the chocolate and slowly bring it towards you. Lift it to your nose, inhale the aroma, and linger with that for a few moments. Then look at the colour, texture, shape of the chocolate, and again focus on these aspects. What words and expressions come up in the mind? Are you looking foward to eating it? Does the smell remind you of a particular chocolate, particular occasion?
- Slowly open the mouth and carefully place the chocolate on your tongue. Do NOT eat the chocolate! Just let the warmth of your tongue and mouth gradually melt the chocolate.
- After about 10+ seconds close your mouth and let the chocolate melt a bit more. Only let your mouth and tongue move the chocolate around, don’t chew, bite or suck it.
- As it moves and melts in your mouth fully engage with the flavour, the textures, the aroma, the taste, all the qualities and sensations of the chocolate that come to you. Focus only on the chocolate and your feelings/thoughts, but remember to keep breathing (in and out through the nose).
- Let step 7 last as long as possible. Slowly the piece of chocolate will get smaller and smaller. As it shrinks stay with the sensations, taste, and experience. Does it bring up memories? Does it bring up any associations for you? If possible, watch these thoughts/feelings in as neutral manner as you can, although it can bring up quite strong emotions, particularly if you have (or have had) any eating related issues or disorders.
- The piece of chocolate will eventually melt away into nothing. This may take two or more minutes. As it fades away, stay focused on the lingering aroma, taste and sensations as much as you can.
- After a few more breaths become aware of your breathing pattern, aware of where you are sitting, the space around you. Enjoy a few more breaths with the eyes closed before you open the eyes and take your time to move on to your next thing.
PS Writing this has given me a chocolate craving! I recommend a good quality vegan chocoate – you may want to look at a guide to ethical and vegan chocolates for a fully guilt-free experience.