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3.8 Why the Raisin?

Before you read on, ask yourself about the purpose of the raisin exercise. This page will describe the more about the raisin exercise.

Why The Raisin?

When we consume things like raisins we often do it perhaps without even looking, throwing handfuls into our mouths while on the go or watching television. We don’t notice how they look, smell or even taste like.

What is Autopilot? What is it for?

Read the following extract from Beth Thomas: 

Have you ever been driving on a weekend and suddenly realised you are actually on your way to work or noticed that you are speeding along the motorway at 70 mph and have been daydreaming for the last minute?

Humans have an amazing ability to multitask and do things on autopilot which can often be beneficial and useful. It extends your capacity to get things done efficiently by creating habitual behaviour that can demand fewer brain resources than being conscious to each task. Useful right? Maybe but when you are on autopilot you can miss things.

If we are constantly in autopilot, moments that can enrich our life can pass us by; the sense of the wind on our skin, the sounds of the birds in the morning or the dew drops on the cobwebs in the garden as we pass by. When we come out of autopilot and just notice, in such a simple way, life can become richer. As well as the benefits on our wellbeing, coming out of autopilot and noticing can have other effects. Take the example of driving to work on a weekend; you have wasted an extra 30 minutes going the wrong way. If you breeze past a colleague saying hello in a mode of autopilot you could miss the opportunity to detect the tone in their voice, which may be telling you they are having a tough time and want to talk.

By consciously showing up for our life we open up choices and boundless opportunities.

Summary of Raisin Exercise Learning:

  • Bringing the unconscious into the conscious
  • Become aware of when you are on autopilot
  • Be aware of the present moment
  • Notice habitual ways of reacting (particularly to stress)
  • Purposefully paying attention can reveal things that we hadn’t noticed before
  • Our experience can be transformed when we pay attention to present moment experiences
  • The mind rapidly makes associations from sensory information

What did The Raisin Exercise do for you?

After this exercise participants have often reported being astonished at how intense the flavour of one raisin is. You may have even made connections in your mind or thought of past events that the raisin reminded you of, such as Christmas pudding and the associated feelings around this. Share your thoughts below then click next.