Mindfulness is about noting more clearly through our senses the world around us and within. As we meditate we focus on the inner world of thought, feelings and physical sensations, but mindfulness practice can also help us appreciate the world around us with more clarity also.
I found that my sense of sight and hearing became sharper after a month of meditating. And it’s continued to be the case that colours look really vivid and sharp, even more so after a retreat or regular meditation sessions.
Another sense we can pay more attention to is of taste. How often do you eat something without thinking about it? Looking at the television or reading, or scrolling through your ‘phone? A meditation I teach which traditionally uses a raisin looks at how to bring greater attention to the experience of eating a piece of food, first by really looking at it, then noticing its scent and any sound it makes and finally by taking a few minutes to really experience it’s taste.
The meditation is intended to counteract any autopilot behaviour we have around food of eating quickly or being distracted whilst eating. Instead we bring full attention to it and explore how to experience more pleasure as we eat.
In the monastery we would take 30 chews of every mouthful and this is still something I do as I eat now. You may find it interesting to count and notice how many chews you habitually give and see what it’s like to try 30!