A Raisin Lesson

November 26, 2013

By: YaLe Lim

What comes to mind when you think of the word ‘Meditation’? I’ll admit… the words ‘slow’ and ‘monotonous’ were the first to come to mine. However, the meditation practices Dr. Benn brought us through, as well as her questions, made me rethink my previous notion.

On 28th October 2013, I had the privilege of attending a presentation led by Dr. Rita Benn – the UM Director of the Faculty Scholars Program (FSP) in Integrative Healthcare. The session focused on the practice of meditation to achieve a state of mindfulness, and was both insightful and invigorating.

One of the practices Dr. Benn led us through was called the Raisin Exercise. Participants were given a raisin and asked to imagine that it was a foreign object they had never set eyes on. We were tasked to scrutinize this object – how did it look? What was its color? How did its texture feel? We were even asked to listen to it! Finally, we bit into it, and were reminded to savor its flavor.


This simple exercise was astonishing, for I would have never guessed a plain object like a raisin able to elicit so many thoughts and emotions. Dr. Benn used this practice as a premise to the questions: How much of the world are we really aware of? Are we truly living and experiencing, or are we just going through the motions of our everyday lives?

Dr. Benn’s questions hit home, and have thus spurred me to practice meditation, and attempt to achieve greater mindfulness of the world around me. Over the past two weeks, I have been taking time out each day to clear my mind and focus on my breathing. It’s only for a few minutes, but I always emerge from a session feeling much calmer and more conscious of my daily tasks and interactions. Well, of course I missed a few days of meditation here and there… but hey, I’m sure my continued effort stands for something ☺

To the reader: Be honest, and ask yourself if you are truly aware of your surroundings and experiences – if you’re truly living. If your answer is negative, then I hope that you, too, will embark on a quest to mindfulness. After all, we only live once – let’s not live a life unlived.

P.S. All readers in the Ross School of Business interested in developing mindfulness and greater awareness are encouraged to join the Ross Mindfulness Club (https://maizepages.umich.edu/organization/mindfulness_club). For more information, kindly contact Ms. Lindsey Cameron, President of the Ross Mindfulness Club at ldcamer@umich.edu.

Link to Dr. Rita Benn at Psychology Today:http://www.psychologytoday.com/experts/rita-benn-phd