Awaken your senses, flirt with life

Author: Vasco Gaspar

Co-Author: Pratibha Kujur

Many of you, presently reading this article must be having the feeling that “in my life, there is hardly anything positive.” If some of you do so, then I ask you a question: have you really been paying attention to the good and beautiful things happening every day around you? There’s no denial about the fact that, in our lives there are difficult moments but at the same time, there are so many good things which we fail to notice. We never care to stop for a moment and enjoy, despite the fact that we have the highest technology at our disposal to do this: our senses.

There are several theories about the number of senses we have, but I will use the one by Daniel J. Siegel, which argues that we have eight senses: the “normal” five, the intuition that is transmitted by our bodily signs (heart, intestines, etc…), the ability to watch our thoughts (called Mindsight) and finally, the ability to feel connected to others and to what surrounds us.

I suggest that you try the following experiment to awaken your senses: one of these days go to an outdoor place, in nature, such as a public park or anywhere else where you feel good, above all. Once there, start taking a “tour” with your eight senses.

  • Start by focusing on what you see. Notice the colors, the contrasts in light. Look at the trees, people, animals, flowers … What colors do you have around you? Look for details that you have never noticed before. Allow yourself to observe, without any concrete objective, or any mental formulation.
  • After a few minutes I suggest that you focus on what is coming to your ears. If you wish, close your eyes to focus more easily. What are the sounds that come to your ear? Can you hear the wind? Can you hear the laughter of children? Focus on that bird chirping in the background or other sounds of nature. Can you hear in “between the sounds”? Can you hear the silence?
  • Now shift to sense of the touch. What do you feel on your skin? If you are lying on the grass, for example, how does it feel like to be in contact with it? Then pick up something at hand, for example a dry leaf, feather, pebble etc… Gently handle that object. How does the object feel like? Does it have a rough texture, a nice feel or a sticky one? Or is it something that you can’t even classify using words?
  • Then concentrate on the sense of smell. Try to sense whatever the wind brings. What smells and odors can you identify? Are they pleasant or unpleasant? Try to “unveil” a pleasant smell in the middle of the “multitude” of stimuli that reach you. Move, for example, near a flower. Can you “navigate” with its perfume?
  • Then bring your attention to the palate. What is the main taste in your mouth? Does it taste like coffee or like gum or nothing special? If you have something you can eat, try to crack a tiny bit and enjoy the taste. Imagine that you are a professional chef, trying to guess the ingredients present in the food.
  • Now focus on your body, in the area of the heart. Can you feel it beating? How is the pace? And your breath how is it? Is it fast, slow? Are you breathing through area of the chest or in the abdominal area? And how is the rest of the body? Do a sort of “check up” starting from your head to your toes, and try to find how your hands, feet, shoulders, intestines, etc … feel like. Are there any sources of tension? Just notice them.
  • After touring your body, shift your attention on the ability to watch your thoughts. Close your eyes and concentrate on what comes to your mind. What are the thoughts that come to you? Wait patiently and observe, like a cat outside a mouse’s hole. Where do they appear from? Where do they go after? Try “cataloging” them, with labels like “image”, “memory”, “sound”, “concern”, etc.. Try not to get carried away. Just watch them. If you get lost somewhere, do not worry, because as soon as you notice it, you are no longer lost. Simply return to the observation.
  • Ultimately, get to the last sense. Try to feel the links that surrounds you. Imagine that you are part of a giant puzzle and try to see how your piece “fits” and touches those around you, whether they are people, nature or society in general. What is your role in this puzzle? What are your links with the world?

By doing this exercise you will probably come to the conclusion that life is immense. Sometimes we simply need to step back and look at Life, flirt with it and feel it with all our senses. You will then definitely realize that many of the things that we see as problems are just brief “strokes” in a much larger backdrop.

By the way, do you ever observe your children on how they use their senses? Don’t they have a much deeper ability to use them? For once, instead of guiding your kids, choose to follow how they marvel at their surroundings!

So be aware, be mindful, and flirt with life with all your senses.

Photo credits: http://morguefile.com/

Comments

  1. [...] Many of you, presently reading this article must be having the feeling that “in my life, there is hardly anything positive.” If some of you do so, then I ask you a question: have you really been paying attention to the good and beautiful things happening every day around you? There’s no denial about the fact that, in our lives there are difficult moments but at the same time, there are so many good things which we fail to notice. We never care to stop for a moment and enjoy, despite the fact that we have the highest technology at our disposal to do this: our senses. Read more [...]

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