There are times when life seems to take on certain flavours, often evoked by particular sights, sounds, tastes, smells and touch…
Here’s a blog about the senses… our unique senses, through which we experience the world.
These senses are a powerful stimulus for thoughts, feelings, and how we respond to whatever’s happening at the time.
With their help we humans have evolved to be the most dominant, creative, volatile and destructive creatures on the planet – after a few million years!
Our brain lives in its dark closed shell. Signals from the senses are its gateway to beyond. These signals, translated into the common currency of electro-chemical impulses, then permit us to adopt our own individual slant on the world.
Our senses collaborate:
Vision is a whole-body experience.
Touch influences how we see.
Sight informs what we hear, taste and smell.
When trying to remember something, some people reach for their glasses… in fact, I admit, I’ve done it myself! It’s that feeling that somehow seeing more clearly helps us think more clearly.
And whilst I am grateful for my glasses, I do resent having something stuck on my face!
I encourage people to manage without them on the yoga mat… to enjoy a more carefree experience. Make friends with that blurry, fuzzy world!
At home on bright days I like to go spec-less. Or go walking! Otherwise all the bits that need cleaning and dusting are far too apparent in the sunlight…
But my light-hearted way of putting off housework unfortunately mirrors what may in some become a problem – namely, dulling the senses in order to bypass pain, or closing our eyes and ears to things which don’t reinforce our opinions. We thus cheat ourselves of our natural vibrant awareness and impartiality.
Yoga practices can help us appreciate and evolve connections. For example, the way we breathe reflects the way we think and feel… and vice versa.
It’s good to be reminded that what affects one aspect of us will always influence the function of our whole self.
The way we practise on the yoga mat is a good pointer to how we are in general.
And sometimes in classes people wisely close their eyes. Why? To better savour their own experience, rather than be made hungry by what the eye sees – thus avoiding the urge to achieve the shapes that other bodies are making!
We can too easily believe our eyes, even if they tell us that white is black and black is white.
Our senses can drive us to unwise and illogical behaviours, make us susceptible to strange beliefs and superstitions. We humans are prone to bias, to adopting moral stances then bending facts around them.
First impressions don’t always serve us well in the long term, if based solely on how someone looks or sounds that day.
Our senses can trick us when in highly charged or emotional states of mind; when asked to recall situations imagination can easily replace fact.
In yoga misapprehension is called avidya. And a purpose of practice is to see ourselves and others more clearly – to remove the veils of illusion, which yoga names maya.
How easily our senses can deceive!
We sense things as solid, including us, yet all is space and energetic particles.
We sense we are still, yet we’re hurtling through space on a fast-spinning planet.
We sense that the world is flat, just because we can’t see past our noses!
Our collective senses lend us our perception of the world, from which emerges our own unique, individual reality… it’s a miracle!
Yet, like all else in the world, our senses are ever-changing; their quality comes in tides.
As surely as the moon draws the ocean, they will be affected by ill health, negative emotion, fatigue.
Yoga helps us to take care of ourselves, knowing that how we behave will affect the world around us.
Clarity makes us better managers of ourselves… so that our senses can serve, and not enslave us. X