Live a Sensational Life: The 5 Essentials
By: Deb Maes
September 11, 2013
The mind is a busy thing, isn’t it? That voice inside loves to fill your head with words, sentences, metaphors and narratives, and we often end the day or week exhausted as a result. So, it is important to pause and observe in silence for two profoundly good reasons:
- Insight and creativity frequently arrive in the wordless times.
- Success can breed complacency. When we find things that work, we can turn them into habits, and then we find we don’t always get the great results we had.
Perhaps you might like to think of silent reflection as a holiday from the work of words. .. a rest, a breather, a reward. But, if you’ve ever tried to not think no doubt found it an ‘interesting’ experience, didn’t you? In order to go into a wordless observation, it’s helpful to actively direct your senses. When you do this, you start to see and hear things that you haven’t experienced for a long time.
You can live or you can learn to live sensationally.
We are sensory beings. Remember at school, we learned that we experience the world through our 5 senses? When we are born, we experience the world without language, through our 5 senses, don’t we? We learned language and at times we forget to pause and experience life with our senses. But our brains are still constantly converting words into pictures, sounds and feelings, aren’t they? This can be very exhausting compared to just experiencing life with our senses.
You can become more able to reflect, observe and experience the world when you hone one sense at a time. Here is how you might like to do this:
Day 1: Really see things.
Start by picking an object – it could be a tree, a chair, a flower, a building – and just observe the lines, the colours, the direction from which the light is coming, the light and shadow areas, the overall shape, and detail. As much as possible do this without words, and when words do come, use them to redirect your attention to observing: that is, tell yourself, “see the lines, the shadows, the colours”, etc. Wherever you are, just allow yourself to see patterns of light, the shapes in the world around you, the lines and textures.
Day 2: Really hear sounds.
Pick a sound (e.g. a bird song, a motor, the wind, a passing plane) and listen for high and low notes, any rhythm in the sound, the speed at which the sound is being made (e.g. speed of speaking, or bird singing), changes in volume. When you’re walking along, allow yourself to hear the symphony around you. Notice the loud AND the almost imperceptibly quiet sounds, the repeating sounds, the steady sounds, the changing volume of sounds, and the interplay of the sounds around you.
Day 3: Really feel sensations – both internal and external.
When sitting, where exactly do you feel the chair? Are the points of contact distributed generally or in particular areas (e.g. the sitting bones)? Notice the sensation of the textures of the clothes you are wearing. Pick an object and gently feel its texture; pick it up (if it’s pick-upable) and feel the weight. Is it warm or cool? Does it vibrate? When walking, can you feel the air brushing past you? If there’s a wind, feel the changes in direction, speed and temperature.
Day 4: Really taste.
You know what to do now, don’t you?
Day 5: Smells.
Then, notice just how much more sensation is your experience now?