Module 3: Past, Future, and Present
Using the Weekly Rating Sheet, please rate how well your life is working.
What was your experience of practicing the mindfulness and defusion exercises?
If you read either of the two articles about mindfulness, what did you learn?
If you did not do any practice exercises, what thoughts or feelings got in the way?
1. Pain and suffering come from negative thoughts and feelings about the past or the future.
2. The present moment is a safe place that we can learn to connect with at any time.
3. When we practice being in the present, negative thoughts and feelings about the past or future have less impact on us.
4. Connecting with the present isn’t about controlling how we think and feel, it’s about having the freedom to make choices that improve our lives.
Practice New Skills:
Please choose one of the options below to help you experience the process of present moment awareness. Sometimes it is easier to understand something if you experience it, rather than have someone try to explain it to you in words. As you listen to whichever exercise you choose, follow along as best you can with the instructions. Don’t worry if you get distracted or lose focus. This is normal. Just refocus on the exercise as soon as you notice that your mind has wandered.
Between now and the next module, if you are willing…
Please select one or more of the methods below to help you practice connecting with the present moment:
Mindfully Eating a Raisin Exercise
Place a few raisins in your hand. If you don’t have raisins, any food will do.
Imagine that you have just come to Earth from a distant planet without such food. Now, with this food in hand, you can begin to explore it with all of your senses. Focus on one of the objects as if you’ve never seen anything like it before. Focus on seeing this object. Scan it, exploring every part of it, as if you’ve never seen such a thing before. Turn it around with your fingers and notice what color it is. Notice the folds and where the surface reflects light or becomes darker.
Next, explore the texture, feeling any softness, hardness, coarseness, or smoothness. While you’re doing this, if thoughts arise such as “Why am I doing this weird exercise?” “How will this ever help me?” or “I hate these objects,” then just see if you can acknowledge these thoughts, let them be, and then bring your awareness back to the object.
Take the object beneath your nose and carefully notice the smell of it. Bring the object to one ear, squeeze it, roll it around, and hear if there is any sound coming from it.
Begin to slowly take the object to your mouth, noticing how the arm knows exactly where to go and perhaps becoming aware of your mouth watering consistency as you chew. When you feel ready to swallow, consciously notice the intention to swallow, then see if you can notice the sensations of swallowing the raisin, sensing it moving down to your throat and into your esophagus on its way to your stomach.
Take a moment to congratulate yourself for taking this time to experience mindful eating.