written by Paula Hartmann
We have 5 senses. We can see, smell, hear, feel and taste. Let’s explore 4 of them today.
Pretend for a moment that you’ve never heard anything in your life. If it helps, you can put your hands over your ears for a few seconds so you can't hear anything. Really imagine you were just born into this world as a baby and you’ve never heard a sound.
Now take your hand away from your ears and listen to all the sounds in the room or in the place that you’re in, with fresh ears. You might hear a bird or a car driving by, you might hear an airplane or a lawnmower. Take all of these sounds in and listen to them with an alertness as if you’ve never heard a bird or a car before.
You might suddenly get a glimpse of what happiness feels like. There might be a sensation of awe when you truly listen to a bird because you’re not distracted by mental noise.
Now, let’s do this for the other senses too. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine that you’ve never touched anything and you’ve never been touched before. After a couple of seconds imagine you have your first feeling sensation ever.
There might be a wind that you feel on your skin. Imagine it’s the first time you’re experiencing that. You might feel a sensation of cold or warmth in your body - in your hands, arms or legs. You might feel the sunshine on your skin, maybe there is pain in a certain body part or you feel itchy somewhere. Take all of these sensations in as if it was the first time you’re feeling them.
You might suddenly feel an increase of peace or a feeling of relaxation and enjoyment of your feelings. If you’re in a lot of physical pain, try to really feel the pain, how it moves, how it comes and goes in waves. Feel it with a sense of curiosity and for a moment don’t label it as “bad” or “annoying”.
Now we are going to switch over to a different sense. Use your nose to smell. To concentrate on this sense it also helps to keep your eyes closed, because the visual sense can be very distracting.
So try now to consciously smell something around you and you will notice that all of a sudden you’re breathing gets deeper and deeper automatically. If you can’t smell anything in the air where you are right now, put your fingers to your nose and smell them or try the skin on your arm, your jacket, your T-shirt. While doing this exercise, your mind might come in and say that this is a total waste of time and that you have better things to do than smelling your environment, but there is nothing more fulfilling to your soul and your body than to inhabit this moment as much as possible and to use all of your senses. They help you to stay in tune with your body at this moment.
If you're sitting in nature you can also pick up a flower, some grass or a pinecone and smell it. Be very alert and inhale the essence of everything.
Now we are going to move over to our visual sense. Close your eyes again and imagine you’ve never seen anything before.
Literally pretend that you are blind and that you’ve never seen any colours or shapes. Take a moment to really imagine that. Now open your eyes and look around and look at all the objects that are surrounding you with new eyes. Suddenly you might be mesmerized by the beauty of the colours around you. The colour of a car, a flower, a painting. When you see a bird flying for the first time (or you pretend you saw it for the first time) you will feel the aliveness in that bird, the joy it feels, you will feel its divine essence. Even a bunch of flies buzzing over your head become fascinating. Suddenly simple objects like a pen, a watch or sunglasses look more beautiful because you’re not perceiving them through the filter of your mind, which labels everything and puts them into categories.
Our minds tend to put things and even people into the category “Can this thing or person give me what I want or not?” Depending on the category we put objects and people into, we treat them differently - either good to get something out of them, or not good in case our mind labels them as “unimportant for the fulfillment of our desires”. What we’re totally missing by using our eyes through the mind filter is the true beauty of a person or an object and its importance, its Godliness.
For the end of this exercise combine all of your senses and feel that you’ve just been born into this body and this world. Hear, smell, see and feel as if you’ve just received these senses as a special gift.
You will find that this moment is a miracle. Gratitude for this moment will arise in you. This moment will become so fascinating to you that there is no need to think about the future or the past. This moment will become the most fascinating thing, no matter how unimportant it seems to others. This is what it means to be truly conscious.
This exercise will make you more alive, conscious, will raise your vibration and will make you more grateful for all the things surrounding you. Happiness will arise from this state and you will be able to think clearer about the next step on your journey as a human being.
Whenever you feel stressed, anxious, overwhelmed or sad, you can work with one of your senses. All of your senses are an anchor for the present moment, the only moment that exists and ever will, as Eckhart Tolle puts it.
The moment you use all of your senses consciously and you become aware of the preciousness of this moment, you will feel a sense of relief and peace. The more you practice using your 5 senses, the more you will feel peaceful, alive and at ease with what is.
The next time you’re in a challenging situation, meaning you feel anger arising in you, sadness, physical pain or other painful emotions remember this exercise and focus on one or all of the senses at the same time if you like. Pretend you are a baby again using these physical gifts for the first time.