Exercise 1

Listen to The Chocolate Meditation, a well-known exercise used to introduce people to the idea of mindfulness. What does the speaker say about…?

 the type of chocolate to choose

 what to do before you unwrap it

 what to notice as you unwrap it

 what to do before you eat it

 what to notice and do as you eat it

 when to swallow it


 Choose a type that you’ve never tried before, or one that you’ve not / you haven’t eaten recently.

 Look at it – its color, shape, what it feels like – as if you were seeing it for the very first time.

 Notice how the wrapping feels, see the chocolate itself. Look at it and smell it.

 Look at it and then put it in your mouth. Try to keep it on your tongue and let it melt.

 Notice how your hand knows where to put the chocolate. Put it on your tongue and let it melt. Notice if you chew and the flavors.

6   Swallow it when the chocolate has completely melted.


The Chocolate Meditation

Again and again people tell us that mindfulness greatly enhances the joys of daily life. In practice, even the smallest of things can suddenly become captivating again. For this reason one of our favorite practices is the chocolate meditation. In this, you ask yourself to bring all your attention to some chocolate as you’re eating it. So if you want to do this right now, choosing some chocolate, not unwrapping it yet, choosing a type that you’ve never tried before, or one that you’ve not eaten recently. It might be dark and flavorful, organic, or fair-trade, or whatever you choose. Perhaps choosing a type you wouldn’t normally eat, or that you consume only rarely.


Before you unwrap the chocolate, look at the whole bar or package – its color, its shape, what it feels like in your hand – as if you were seeing it for the very first time.


Now very slowly unwrapping the chocolate, noticing how the wrapping feels as you unfold it, seeing the chocolate itself. What colors do you notice? What shapes? Inhaling the aroma of the chocolate, letting it sweep over you.


And now taking or breaking off a piece and looking at it as it rests on your hand, really letting your eyes drink in what it looks like, examining every nook and cranny. At a certain point, bringing it up to your mouth, noticing how the hand knows where to position it, and popping it in the mouth, noticing what the tongue does to receive it. See if it’s possible to hold it on your tongue and let it melt, noticing any tendency to chew it, seeing if you can sense some of the different flavors, really noticing these.


If you notice your mind wandering while you do this, simply noticing where it went, then gently escorting it back to the present moment. And then when the chocolate has completely melted, swallowing it very slowly and deliberately, letting it trickle down your throat.


What did you notice? If the chocolate tasted better than if you’d just eaten it at a normal pace, what do you make of that? Often we taste the first piece and perhaps the last, but the rest goes down unnoticed. We’re so often on autopilot, we can miss much of our day-to-day lives. Mindfulness is about bringing awareness to the usual routine things in life, things that we normally take for granted. Perhaps you could try this with any routine activity, seeing what you notice? It could change your whole day.

Exercise 2

A. Now listen to six people talking about waiting for things. What situations do they complain about?

B. Listen again. Who…?

___  wishes other people would just be as quick and efficient as they are

___  says that the person they’re waiting for always comes at the last possible minute

___  uses a strategy to try to avoid having to wait

___  doesn’t mind waiting if other people follow the rules

___  says how long they’re prepared to wait before getting very annoyed

___  gets frustrated by sitting watching something happen very slowly



Speaker 1   waiting at home for a delivery

Speaker 2   a bad internet connection

Speaker 3   people cutting in line

Speaker 4   waiting for appointments

Speaker 5   waiting for her husband to get ready

Speaker 6   waiting in check-in lines at airports


1 Speaker 6   3 Speaker 5   5 Speaker 4

2 Speaker 1   4 Speaker 3   6 Speaker 2


1   One thing I really hate waiting for is waiting at home for a delivery to arrive, because sometimes you get like a two-hour delivery window, and that’s fine, but more often they’ll say “Could be any time 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.” and you’re stuck in the house – you don’t even dare go and buy a gallon of milk – and of course it always ends up arriving at five to seven in the evening, and you’ve spent the whole day waiting.

2   It annoys me if I have to wait for web pages to load, if there’s a really bad internet connection and the pages are really slow to load and you actually sort of see one line loading at a time, pixel by pixel it seems, but, you know, invariably if you need the information you sit and wait as long as it takes.

3   Is there anything I really hate having to wait for? Not really, I’m, I’m pretty patient. If I’m in a line, I’m pretty patient, but I will get annoyed if people start to disregard the laws of lines, and try to cut in, or try and get to the front in some other way. As long as there’s a system to follow, that usually keeps me calm.

4   I really hate waiting for anything where I’ve been given an appointment time for a specific hour, you know, a specific time, and then having to wait forever before I have it, so, well, you know, for example a hair stylist or a dentist or a doctor. I think particularly things like hair stylists and dentists, because I think they must know how long the previous person is going to take, you know, they don’t have to deal with emergencies or anything like that, so why can’t they give me a correct time? I mean, I’m very punctual, so I always turn up on time, in fact usually at least five minutes early, and it really, really annoys me if I have to wait for a long time. Anything more than fifteen minutes past the appointment time drives me completely insane.

5   Waiting for Jerry my husband is a complete nightmare, because he’s never ready on time and I always tell him to be ready minutes before we need to be ready and even so he’s so late, it drives me completely bananas. I don’t know why it drives me completely bananas because in fact we often don’t need to be there on time, or it doesn’t need to be that kind of precise, but it does. I hate it. He’s preening himself, you know, getting his jacket on and looking at himself in the mirror, I mean he takes much more time than I do.

6   I can’t abide waiting in check-in lines at airports because I’m standing in the line watching people take for-ev-er to check in, and I know when I get to the front of the line I’ll do my check-in in twenty seconds. I don’t know why these other people can’t do the same.

Exercise 3

A. Listen to a radio program about some new research on time. What is the science expert’s “good news”?

B. Listen again and complete the summary.

How we perceive time

The brain takes time to process information from the 1________. The 2________ it takes to process the information, the slower time seems to pass.

How our perception changes with age

Children receive a lot of 3________ information that takes a long time to process. For them, time passes 4________.

Adults receive information that is more 5________ so it doesn’t take long to process. For them, time passes more 6________

What can we do to slow down time?

Keep 7________________

Visit 8________________

Meet 9________________

Be 10________________



The good news is that it’s possible to slow time down.


1 senses   2 longer   3 new   4 slowly   5 familiar

6 quickly   7 learning   8 new places  9 new people

10 spontaneous


Host   Time flies, as the saying goes, and it’s true. Gone are the lazy days of childhood when summer vacation seemed to crawl by – once you become an adult, the weeks pass by in a whirl of activity. An American neuroscientist has recently published a paper exploring this phenomenon. Our science expert, Stephanie, is here with us to explain the theory. Stephanie, why does time seem to go so slowly when we’re children and so fast when we grow up?

Stephanie   First of all, it’s important to understand how we perceive time. Essentially, our brains take in a whole lot of information from our senses and organize it in a way that makes sense to us before we ever perceive it. When we receive lots of new information, it takes our brains a while to process it all. The longer this processing takes, the longer that period of time feels. Conversely, if your brain doesn’t have to process lots of new information, time seems to go much faster.

Host   Well how does that explain why our perception of time changes as we get older?

Stephanie   When we’re younger, most of the information we receive is brand new – and there’s lots of it. The new information takes longer to process, which is why time seems to pass more slowly. Whereas when we’re older, the world is much more familiar to us, so there is less new information to process. It doesn’t take long to process anything that’s new, which explains why time seems to pass more quickly.

Host   Uh-uh. Stephanie, is there anything we can do to slow time down?

Stephanie   The good news is that there is, yes. The first thing you can do is to keep learning. If you’re constantly reading, trying new activities or taking courses to learn new skills, you’ll be feeding your brain with lots of new information that will make time pass more slowly.

Host   That sounds easy. What else?

Stephanie   The second thing you can do is to visit new places. A new environment can send a mass of information rushing to your brain: smells, sounds, people, colors, textures. Your brain has to interpret all of this, which will give it plenty of work to do.

Host   I suppose meeting new people might help as well?

Stephanie   That’s right. Meeting new people is a good workout for our brains because it takes a lot of time and effort to process and understand details about them.

Host   Hmm. Is there anything else we can do, Stephanie?

Stephanie   Yes, being spontaneous can help a lot. Surprises are like new activities: they make us pay attention and heighten our senses.

Host   Well, so, now you know. All you have to do if you want to slow down time is to follow Stephanie’s advice. Stephanie Carter, thank you for joining us.

Stephanie   My pleasure.

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