Focusing Exercises

This is a new page, a collection of bits i've written on tasting. At present the structure is a bit of a mess - sorry - it will be rewritten soon.

Tasting Yourself

Your taste of yourself is part of your basic feeling of being alive and it's so taken for granted we never even think about it.

Every day, in the modern world we eat such a rich variety of enhanced foods, the taste of our own body is bland by comparison, it's as though there's nothing there to taste. To start to get a feeling for this self-taste, we will explore the contrasts between the different taste areas. By noticing the parameters of this sense we can learn to recognise it.

Use the tip of your tongue, and taste at the back on the soft palate, then up top on the roof of the mouth, then at the front behind the teeth, then underneath the tongue, then at both sides, notice the similarities and the contrasts. Then taste at the front between the lips and the teeth, up and down and both sides, and (if you lick them it disturbs the natural taste), just feel the taste of your lips.

The very sensitive tip of your tongue will help to clarify the contrasts, but now, without your tongue, take a minute to sense those tastes directly. Take an extra moment to notice there are two particuarly flavourful areas at the sides, right back between the jaw bones. I notice a variety of tastes. Sweet, salty, nutty, rich even fruity like prunes or rhubarb, and watery. Then follow these tastes as far as you can down your throat and into your body,... as far as you can.

I feel a vague sense of taste, not just in my mouth and digestive canal but all over my body, ... i try to taste it, i imagine a big tongue tasting me inside.

As so often, there are many questions about inner body sensation which i would like children to clarify. I need them to teach me. What is the natural approach to body-taste awareness?

I would love parents to ask their four to ten-year-olds year olds : "you know that taste in your mouth, how does it feel in your cheeks, under the tongue, on the roof of your mouth and on your lips? What does it taste like in the different areas, is it sweet or salty or like nuts – and can you taste anything in your neck, or in your body?" – and on 'this picture of the mouth', draw in which colours it tastes like.

Tasting General

Since the 1990s Western specialists mostly agree on five categories to define the different tastes (sweet, bitter, sour, salty and umami), but there are many differing opinions. There is also disagreement about where we taste, some experts say only the tongue has taste receptors.

I experience a clear sense of taste on my lips, tongue, the sides and roof of my mouth, the throat and down the central area of my body. And i'm sure i can remember years ago eating something hot and it blew my head off, i felt it all the way down my digestive canal, and started sweating. So, i feel as though i could sense taste throughout my entire body.

I find in areas of my mouth which are tense, i have no sense of taste – tasting is a way of being sensitive to and relaxing such areas.

In everyday life you will find that several hours after eating, you can still taste the last meal or drink you had. there will be different qualities of this taste all over your mouth. Food and drink overpowers our own body taste, but if you just drink water or whatever is your habitual drink for an hour, then the basic contrasts of your own body taste are clearer ... the digestive canal and stomach often remind me of my last meal or drink ...

Tasting Games
If you want fun, you will need a ripe lemon, an onion, a knife and plate, soy sauce, a small glass of southern comfort or a similar sweet liqueur, a small unsweetened bitter expresso, and a cup o'tea or whatever is your habitual drink.

First though, read through and realise what i am suggesting.

Taste just a few drops of strong ripe lemon juice, swirl it around, gargle, feel how in different places it's different strengths. The sensation on the roof of the mouth may be faint, but the taste is clear on the lips, between lips and gums, all around the sides, under the tongue, naturally the tongue itself, and back all the way to the throat. Then swallow just a little drop, feel it in the throat, and down along inside the spine. Then do you notice how after a minute, a faint sense of this taste spreads into the cheek bones, jaw, the front and sides of your neck – (maybe something like an optical illusion, but that's how it feels).

With the lemon taste still in your mouth, drink a little bitter expresso, swirl it round your mouth, notice the effect, notice the contrasts. And then take a sip of southern comfort and notice the contrasts again. You will recognise that you have a sense of taste all over your mouth, including the roof of your mouth, your throat, neck and digestive canal.

An extra idea is to put a little soy sauce on a finger, and without touching the tonuge, spread it on just one side of the roof of your mouth, notice the contrast between the two sides. Also, remember how toothpaste often gives a strong experience of minty freshness all over the mouth.

Advanced Ideas
Our sense of taste in our own body is all very samey compared to food. The differences and contrasts you notice will all be only vague, but these tinges of taste sensations are the parameters of our body-taste.

The roof of the mouth is salty, underneath the tongue is sweeter, roof of the mouth and inside the scalp are nutty (appropriate?) and downwards in the throat is watery, vaguely like rhubarb.

The lips are sometimes salty but sometimes rich ... first i thought cherries, then raspberries ... then i thought it's red – blue ... blood? am i tasting blood there? – but it's definately red! Then i tasted between my lips and teeth and thought its yellow almost a tinge of pineapple – I'd love to be guided by a child's drawing of the colours they can taste. (see Questions for Children). – Top of mouth is salty, (maybe silver) but under tongue is sweet but i have no feel for colour there.

From the area down in the gums between the lips and teeth, sidewards to in between the jawbones, it's rich, strong, seems to be always changing, sometimes vaguely like prunes, ... brown ... (sometimes there's so much tension in this area between the jawbones, that it's not possible to taste there, it just feels warm. Trying to taste will relax the tension. Trying to taste is an effective way of relaxing any stiffness in the mouth).

After eating i can taste the food down my esophagus and spreading out across my stomach area – like an upturned 'T' shape. I find the taste of what i've eaten – if it's mild like tomatoes on toast – it takes a while till the feeling permeates my entire central body upper legs and upper arms. If i eat something like eggs, then my whole body quickly feels eggy ...

I eat very little, i remember after fasting how the taste of a bit of thyme seems like an explosion, in my mouth and body, so maybe with 3 rich meals a day, you will hardly notice any such effects.

Please continue with How to Doze Phase Three

Back to Chapter 4 : Smelling and Tasting