Our Five Senses
I write now with the month of May
having swept me by in a way that I can hardly remember. For me, this
has been a month of planning and of preparation, which has meant a
certain degree of living in the future at the expense of the present.
While certainly we have to plan and prepare, I am working very hard in
my life to experience what is happening around me right now.
A Still Harbor friend and teacher, Josh Summers, shared a mindfulness reminder about returning to our senses in his newsletter last week (read it here). He wrote, “compared to the world of thought, the world of the senses is sobering, calming, and steadying.” I urge you to consider this notion as you move into June and all of the complex, tangled thoughts the month will inevitably bring. Relaxing into your most basic senses will enable you to stay present and connected to the experience of the relationships, community, and impact you have made over the past year.
While noticing what your body senses is a simple idea, it is certainly not easy. You will feel how quickly your mind wants to jump in to “make sense” of what you are seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, or smelling. Your thoughts want to narrate what is unfolding—like an overbearing tour guide, your mind will do its best to take over and explain it all. If you try the practice of relaxing into your senses and you notice the voice of your thoughts, just relax.
There is a great quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that Tom Shadyac used in his great documentary film, I Am: “The world is his who can see through its pretension… See it to be a lie, and you have already dealt it its mortal blow.” This is what I encourage you to do with your thoughts—see through their pretension. See them to be created, recreated, revised, edited, and reformed over and over again, and you will discover that your thoughts can only hold power over you if you give them the control. This realization, in part, is our way to discovering the clarity of our senses, the depth of our experiences, and the joy of what is taking place in our presence.