Engaging ALL of the Senses – By Design

imgres

We’ve spent these last five weeks taking apart and looking more closely at each of the senses. Now, it’s time to go back to the beginning and reassemble all the bits and pieces that we have uncovered.

Moving through these senses once again, the reminder to open your sense of Smell to receive the odors that are around you and allow them to stir the memories associated was also the call to reach back and keep those memories of joy and comfort continually alive and vibrant while creating new ones. Mark the change in the seasons using your sense of smell. The smell of Fall flowers and burning leaves are vastly different from the flowers of Spring. And the fires of wood in a fireplace in the Winter have a deeper aroma than those of burning leaves. The smell of your lover’s freshly washed body and the odor of sweat from a challenging work-out stir our emotions and draw us more deeply into awareness of the present moment.

The sense of Sight is what drew you to this blog and series of writings. Something you saw attracted you to read more and the words on the page stimulated within you a curiosity to know more. Taking in the sights, means exactly that! It is a way to connect and become part of what is occurring and evolving as you witness the glory of the event. Many people are uncomfortable with making eye contact. I find it to be the most enjoyable of experiences. There is so much you can learn about a person by looking them directly in the eyes. There is so much they can glean from you if you do not look away. Eyes are one of our most expressive of features so allow them to take in and express what is being seen. Allow yourself to react and respond to what you are seeing. Our minds are capable of holding many images; each serving as a reference point for a specific set of or singular experience. Open yourself up to adding purposefully to that storehouse and at the same time expanding your own world-view.

Perhaps one of the most important of the senses, Touch is the opportunity to merge and co-mingle with another human, animal or an object. In our current society, touch has many layers of meaning and we get lost in the analytical nature. Technology has created a type of disconnect that is masked by the perception that we are actually more in “touch”. In reality, what is grossly missing from that equation is the personal “in the presence of” moment where you can physically reach out a touch that (those) individual (s). Don’t waste a moment of “in the flesh” time to embrace, greet or otherwise touch. As humans we thrive on this type of interaction.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and every snack in between is a chance to indulge (not necessarily high caloric- LOL!) and take our sense of Taste on a grand culinary adventure. This is the armchair traveller at his/her finest. The seas of flavor and countries of gastronomic origin await our visit each day. The key is being mindful of the sensorial experience and offering the presence of gratitude and awareness of what we are sampling on this journey. As humans, we are privy as no other species to a banquet of foods each having their own specific signature of texture and taste. As Americans, food is in such abundance that we often forget the origins and hard work that went into its planting or feeding. Which, is why there is nothing quite as satisfying and flavorful as food we have grown ourselves or cooked from scratch.

The sense of Hearing and being heard are gifts we can give to ourselves and to others. Really listening; not just taking in the sound is a skill that requires development. Hearing requires paying attention and in the case of dialogue with another, engaging sight to give further detail to what is being heard. Being heard is what we desire. Being heard means that someone else is “really listening” to what we are communicating and is giving of their time and energy in being fully engaged in the conversation. As you go through your day, make note of how many opportunities presented where you could have “really heard” what was being said. And, then make note of how many of those times you seized the opportunity for a deeper connection. Do the same sort of analysis regarding how often you felt that no one was listening to you. And, how disconnected and isolated you felt by that experience.

I return to the thoughts I offered about the purpose of this blog and the call to embrace everything that is held in a physical existence…..

“This blog is meant to be that reminder as we look at the gifts of everyday experiences and cultivate the tools to strengthen these so the beauty and magick of the ordinary can become the gifts and tools of the extraordinarily Divine.”

By Design

double-weave-fabric-on-the-loom

Living fully present means engaging all of the senses in all of your endeavors; even if this is not a pleasant process. Changing a baby’s diaper is not always a pleasant olfactory (smell) experience, but the love and tender care you are offering overrides this. The other consideration is that when you are familiar with the normal smell associated with this task, anything out of the ordinary can give you a heads up on an upcoming illness.

For me living in this sensorial way is to live by purposeful design. The tapestry of my physical experience is woven using the many threads that include tactile, sensorial, mental, emotional and more. The more I weave of this tapestry I am able to differentiate between what is common ground and what is disparity in my relationship with others and in the way I chose to live my life. The more I engage the physical tools I have to assess and categorize my experiences the greater the ability to determine a reaction or to response to similar experiences. And, ultimately the more I contribute to the design that is woven the more fully human I become.

End Note About This Series:

I hope you have enjoyed this exploration of the Senses and have gained some deeper insight on how to enhance and actively use them. Be sure to take a look at the collaborative posts in The Sacred Vessel Blog. As always, I welcome comments and suggestions about how I could have made this series more information.

 

Companion Post: Available Next Week

The Sacred Vessel
Sensing the Subtleties in ALL of Their Expression

SensingSubtle

 

Join me for the Next Series beginning mid-August:

Acts of Contemplation
Exploring Focused Awareness, Stillness and Meditative Action

imgres

 

Advertisements

Engaging the Senses: The Sense of Touch

10224279_s

Part 3 of 5
The Sense of Touch

Of all of the senses, Touch is one that all human beings crave. We use touch as a way of exploring our world and our surroundings. Through the action of connecting physically with an object or person, we gain information about that person or thing; albeit, this information is often processed at a subtle level. Nonetheless it sets an imprint upon our consciousness and sets up a formulary of opinion about that experience. Those who are not routinely touched in a gentle and caring way often fail to thrive and become withdrawn and impeded in their social interactions. And, those whose scope of touch is only that of hurtful and abusive receipt often repeat these behaviors in their encounters with others, setting up a path of abuse and mistrust.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, touch is:

1. To cause or permit a part of the body, especially the hand or fingers, to come in contact with so as to feel.

I especially like this definition as it includes the resultant action of being touched; that of Feeling. The experience of touching or being touched evokes an emotion within each of the participants. It engages more than just the mental response that analyzes the motivation behind this gesture, and forces the inclusion of the feeling nature. In this way, the reaction has been processed through both heart and mind.

2. The physiological sense by which external objects or forces are perceived through contact with the body.

This definition gives clarity with the emphasis on “perception”. Perception implies awareness. When we are aware of what surrounds us, what intrudes upon our energetic space or what is willingly invited into that space we become more aware of our place within that space. We become more aware of our impact on that space and how our engagement or lack of can cause different responses.

Touch coupled with the sensation of taste can bring the greatest pleasure to a connoisseur’s palate. Touch coupled with sight can stimulate the sensual and erotic urges. Touch coupled with hearing can produce the symphonies and great music that endures lifetimes. And, it is the gentle and loving touch of a mother that is the baby’s first experience.

Anatomy of Touch

21849789_s

The nerve endings that are comprised at the very tips of our fingers are primed to receive the information that something has been connected to and signals the brain to either withdraw, as in the case of pain or to explore more fully as in a non-threatening connection. There is an immediate response and reaction to what we touch and in the case of another human being an immediate response and reaction is stirred in the one being touched.

Where and how you touch can produce pleasure or pain. There is the shared feeling of sensitivity where the nerve endings on the skin lay and a heightened awareness poised in the direction of where the touch is coming from. Insects and other animals use antennae as feelings to navigate through their worlds. And the lightest touch sends vibrations that alert a spider to the fact that dinner or an intruder may be at hand.

The Art of Touch

41ypENURPvL._SS400_
Creation of Adam (Detail) by Michelangelo

Nothing conveys emotion or sentiment like the sense of touch. When we reach out to another we are opening the energetic pathways from one body to another. Imbued within that energy is meaning that often words cannot adequately express. How we touch another can say we love you- move out of my way- or I am someone who cares. We often take for granted how much impact touching someone has. There is a common philosophy of parenting that we can never kiss and hug our children enough. Having had five children I believe this to be true and now in looking back I wish I had made better use of those random times when a simple hug would have added to the moment.

The true art of touch is in the fact that it can be planned or simply occur spontaneously. This also is a bit different from the other senses. We have no choice but to use sight, when we look at something. We cannot help but hear the surrounding noises. We cannot turn off our sense of smell. And, even though we have selectivity about what we ingest, there is always some sort of taste in our mouths that is residual from what we have eaten.

Touch can be withheld (Etherically, we are engaging our subtle sense of touch all of the time. More on this in Sensing the Subtleties Post next week) if we so desire. And, although the sensation of touch is required given the science of gravity and the contact of our footing on the earth, we still have ultimate control over how we actively engage this sense otherwise.

Healing and Therapeutic Modalities

massage

Touch is used in most of the healing and therapeutic modalities. Reiki and Therapeutic massage are just two of the ways in which touch is used to promote health and well-being. A massage can be just what is needed to relax or to energize you in a more productive manner.

Within the practice of Nursing, Therapeutic Touch has become a process of intervention for more than 30 years. Although its roots are in mysticism, the medical community is now looking at various alternative and holistic practices, including the premise that specific forms of touch can engage the energetic body of the patient and be changed to promote healing. Reiki and other related healing modalities are now incorporated in the treatment of Cancer patients as part of their regular regimen. Doctors of Osteopathic medicine are trained in Osteopathic Manipulation techniques that relieve patient pain and realign the skeletal and muscular system with care provided by a licensed physician who can address the related medical needs of their patients.

Let’s Get Physical Practice: 

Reach Out!

For this exercise, you will need to actively reach out. During the course of the day make a point to reach out and touch someone. This may take the form of a handshake or a reassuring hand on a shoulder. If it is someone you know well, a hug or gentle caress may be in order. Take your cues from the person as to what their level of comfort is in being touched. Did they respond by reaching back? Did you notice a change in the dynamics of your interaction that may not have occurred had you not employed touch in some way?

Companion Post: Next Week
The Sacred Vessel
The Subtleties of the Senses: Touch

Resources:

The Book of Touch (Sensory Formations) by Constance Classen
Healing Touch Guidebook, Practicing the Art and Science of Human Caring by Dorothea Hover-Kramer, Healing Touch Program
To Touch Is to Live: The Need for Genuine Affection in an Impersonal World by Mariana Caplan
Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art by Diane Stein
Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide by Pamela Miles
Reiki, the Healing Touch by William Rand
Mosby’s Fundamentals of Therapeutic Massage by Sandy Fritz
The Book Of Massage: The Complete Stepbystep Guide To Eastern And Western Technique by Lucinda Lidell, Carola Beresford Cooke, Anthony Porter, and Sara Thomas

 

Next Post: “Engaging the Senses”
Part 4: The Sense of Taste

Child-Tasting-Food

 

About This Series:

This five-part posting will take a closer look at each of the senses that are part of our greater learning and growing experience. Each of the five senses plays a significant role in how we process the information of our human experience and these lessons serve as the foundations of our use of sensation in ephemeral and spiritual experience. Each contributes a specific energy and working collaboratively they offer the keys to memory, expansion of consciousness, engagement in the physical world and doorways to the inner planes of wisdom.

There are collaborative posts speaking to the Spiritual overlays of each of the senses in the Sacred Vessel Blog that may be accessed the week after this posting.

Follow Magickally Human on WordPress.com