These are certainly tumultuous times we are living in and the level of discord in the world is greater than ever before in our lifetimes. The restoration of universal balance that is needed to return to a harmonic existence is going to require a critical mass coming together in accordance. Be a part of the solution, pay attention to what you are sensing in your environment and harmonize with those around you. Remember, we are all in this together.
Practicing mindfulness focused on your senses will help you to raise consciousness in this area and develop your sensory awareness. This awareness provides invaluable information for navigating life. And it is essential to experience the full richness that is available in each moment. Just as the differing vibrations of the notes in a chord come together in harmonic expression, developing your sensory awareness allows you to harmonize your engagement with the world around you.
Your sensory awareness is your ability to take in and differentiate the complex array of sensory stimuli that you receive from the world you live in. The process of integrating and utilizing this information has three phases. First, you receive the information available through your basic seven senses, yes seven, next you organize the information and finally you use the information to interact with your environment, completing the sensory cycle.
Your senses are interconnected with your personality, which provides the reasoning abilities necessary to utilize the sensory information that you receive. Your personality is the outermost part of yourSELF that meets and interacts with the world and your senses are the receptors through which you receive information from the world. Together they form the give and take exchange that you have with your environment.
In phase one of the sensory cycle your personality traits will determine how open you are to receiving sensory information, how closely you pay attention to it and what you choose to focus on. In the second phase, both your innate personality traits and your conditioning (beliefs etc.) will influence how you interpret and organize the sensory information. The final phase is utilizing this information which is the synthesized culmination of the sensory data you have assimilated both consciously and unconsciously along with your body’s response. This is expressed through your personality as you respond to your life experiences.
Following is an exercise for you to begin developing your sensory awareness. Be patient as it takes time and practice to develop skill in this area, but it is well worth the effort. Sensory awareness opens the door to understanding the depths of human experience and being able to harmonize with the world around you, even when the world is in discord.
Guidance and training is available if you wish to deepen your awareness and ability to utilize sensory information to effect change in your life; schedule a private session with Rebecca.
EXERCISE TO PRACTICE DEVELOPING YOUR SENSORY AWARENESS
Step 1: Stop and Take Sensory Stock.
You learn and grow through engagement with your environment. Paying attention to what you are sensing in the moment increases your conscious awareness and ability to respond rather than react to your surroundings.
Pick a time once or many times throughout the day and set an alarm. When the alarm goes off take a few minutes to open and observe what you are sensing through all seven senses. Keep a record of your observations.
Keep your focus on what you are sensing, drawing conclusions from this information comes later, this is a time to open and pay attention to your body wisdom and innate ability to sense the environment. You have been sensing the world since in utero for most senses, with the exceptions of vision which develops in the first seven months and proprioception which evolves from age 5 -18 and improves with age. With the narrowing of activities available, along with increased risks in the world, the times are beckoning us all to deepen our sensory awareness.
TACTILE SENSE – TOUCH
Pay attention to how everything touching your skin feels. Notice the pressure of all the surfaces supporting the weight of your body. Consider any tactile sense you are experiencing on the surface of your body. Are you hot or cold?
GUSTATORY SENSE – TASTE
Pay attention to what taste you can sense. Is it salty, sweet, sour or bitter? Notice all the feelings you sense on your taste buds.
OLFACTORY SENSE – SMELL
Breathe in deep and slow. Notice the scents you are aware of as the air passes in and out your nose stimulating nerve endings in your olfactory cleft.
AUDITORY SENSE – HEAR
There are many sounds even in the quietest of environments. Indoors there may be the slight hum from electronics or the sound of your own breathing and body movements. Unless you are in a soundproof room there are sounds from outside coming in. If you are outside, subtle sounds from the wind rustling objects near you or distant vehicles, people or animals. Pay attention to all the different sounds you can hear.
VISION SENSE – SEE
Slowly look around to see what is within your view while keeping your body in one location. As you open to receiving the light and perceiving the forms around you, notice the shapes, textures, colors and patterns.
I would like to introduce the final two senses to you in case you are unfamiliar. Your vestibular system consists of vertebrates that reside within your inner ear providing a sense of balance and spatial orientation for coordinating movement. Whereas your proprioception resides within neurons in the muscles, tendons and joints providing a sense of where your body is in space. It lets you know the amount of effort being used to move your body and regulates both your emotional responses and sensory input.
Combining the sensory data from your vestibular system in your head and proprioception throughout your body provides information on your body’s dynamics and kinematics (position and acceleration). These two systems integrate to provide the underlying structure of the sensorium.
VESTIBULAR SENSE – MOVEMENT
Notice the posture of your body and subtle movements your body is making. Are you able to hold your position? Are you experiencing any motion sickness or disorientation? Do you feel regulated and connected with reality? Are you able to focus?
PROPRIOCEPTION SENSE – POSITION
Notice where your body is in space. Pay attention to how your body feels, do you have any tension in your muscles or pain in your joints? Are you aware of any emotional reactivity? Notice the effort it takes to make a small movement with your limbs. Do you feel stable?
Step 2 – Assess your Sensory Awareness.
At the end of the day or after a number of days, come back to your record of sensory observations and bring the reasoning powers of your personality in to begin organizing this information. Make a note regarding any conclusions that you draw from what your senses are telling you about your environment and how you are responding to it.
Step 3 – Utilize Your Sensory Awareness to Harmonize with Your Environment.
Practice paying attention to your sensory information and drawing reasonable conclusions about what your senses are telling you. Notice how you evolve over time with this practice. Keep a record of ways you are able to incorporate this information and respond more effectively to your environment.