Six Senses – mindful use or just forget about it

The visual perception - Photography Course - L...

How many people here have telekenetic powers?

Raise my hand.      – Emo Philips

The sixth sense in movies is woo woo, something psychic or ghostly. I think we’ve just been overlooking the importance of additional senses.  We get stuck in a certain way of thinking and go along with it, but what about…say, like sense of balance?

Maybe it seemed more on the inside than the out. But it’s a sense, I mean we say ‘sense of balance’ so we already accept it as a sense.

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.   – John Burroughs

I’m thinking of playing with all the senses; taste, touch, smell, hearing, sight and balance to make them expand instead of decline.

Lack of use makes balance decline, but it improves with adequate vit. D and  practice (like standing on one foot or walking on uneven ground or bicycling very slowly or yoga). Actually all our senses can improve with practice and decline with lack of innovation – as in really looking for detail or specific colors or design; listening for notes, clarity, endings; or tasting for the ability to relate verbally or write a description; or touching with eyes closed and total concentration; or smelling in a way that makes us know all the scents and find them good or yucky. Just like our memory, we quit really absorbing and marking things as attention worthy and then they aren’t…

A couple of years ago I had multiple cycles of inner ear/vertigo leading to throwing up when I changed from lying down to standing up; it ended up that my down pillow and winter allergies had a lot to do with it (threw the pillow away and voila – no more dizzy retching) which was a big, OK giant, relief. I’ve always been prone to car sickness, air sickness or any motion sickness which is totally unfair. I’ve done more than my share of taking Dramamine and using those little handy airplane woozy bags – leave them on the seat, top firmly sealed – oh well.

All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth, come only from the senses.           – Frederich Nietzsche

I sit here with my eyes closed typing onto a computer screen, I realize how easy it is to get one key off-center if I don’t pay attention to the rise of plastic under my index finger on F and on J. No don’t look to check. I think how much I take for granted the seeing, the visual, the use of my eyes to double-check what I do, where I’m going, how upright and balanced I am. My world is so skewed towards vision, my other senses ignored so often, too often.

Breathing shallowly, sitting here hunched forward, until I realize I’m breathing shallowly then I take a deep breath straightening up and don’t have to breathe again for a while. I notice the sound of the furnace coming on, the sound of the radio in the room above me, some whistling, the sound of the computer humming in the key of C louder in my left ear because it’s on my left side, the drips of the water collecting in the sump pump well below my basement office corner desk top, drip, drip, drip, plop with oddly slightly different tones. I wonder why, but not too much. I’m not going to try to discover the reason, just accept the fact of multi-toned dripping.

My forehead has some tension pain, my left trapezious muscle is slightly sore,  my shoulders, neck tight and tense, my feet in my boots I didn’t take off yet, feel a little cold and a little damp from the snow I walked through. My eyes are slightly dry and squinting now at the screen, I should just close them again. Its been a long day at the newspaper copy editing and proofreading way too many sports stories, news articles and especially obituaries of very old, dead people born in 1915 who died almost 100 years later.  I wonder how much sensation is lost in 90 years. I run my fingers through my thick hair, massaging my scalp and stretching, I yawn. I yawn again, the first time felt good, I swallow, is my throat getting sore? I yawn again, I hope not sore, not that cold or flu or whatever that has gone around.

I close my eyes, sitting here feeling what I feel; points of contact, heels, rump, mid back, elbows touching my midriff and base of palms on the desk and fingertips on the keys. I keep noticing the muscles of my face, maybe I’m getting a…maybe I just keep tensing my facial muscles and they’re tired of it. And I’m chilled.

The sound of dog claws on the tile floor, the jangle of shaken head, scratched neck end of day itchy collar. Then the sound of her laying down behind me and doing doggy grooming, minor jangles and some mildly discordant licking noises. The sound metal jangling tags must bother her with her ears so much better than mine. She gets up, I don’t notice until I feel her muzzle resting firmly on my leg and under my left hand. Is she aware of my thoughts focusing toward and then leaving her or did my body change when I noticed her?

Smell is mostly absent, the breath going in through my nostrils is cool but seemingly unscented stream. The body oil I put on in the morning after showering, fragrance of lavender that makes the dogs huff. They think it’s too strong. I think I quit smelling it before I’m done with breakfast. And taste, I pull my saliva through my mouth…chocolate?

Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.      – Oscar Wilde

Maybe one of the reasons taking time for meditation is so health promoting is it provides time for awareness and just getting in touch with what we have helps to improve it or at least not forget about it.

Do you take time to do an inventory sometimes? Are you thinking about improving or working on a certain sense? Art, music, food? Where’s your balance? How important is mindfullness?


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