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beyond the 5 senses

After last week's post you may be thinking, "well that's great, these brilliant minds figured out the secrets of the universe, but how do I apply this in my life so that it helps me?"

We were really never taught how to sense beyond our senses, beyond touch, taste, smell, sound and sight. Many people who are sensitive, clairvoyant, clairaudient, claircognizant, are taught more to suppress it than find an appropriate environment for embracing it. If you really think about it though, we all know we are all capable of sensing more... it just takes direction, focus and practice.

Lets look at the lesser known senses:

Proprioception: knowing which parts of your body are where without looking. When you bring your attention to the space in the center of your chest where your heart resides, or breathe into your back or feel your big toe without looking, you are using this sense. When you turn your attention away from your thinking brain and sense a body part, notice how you immediately calm down - focused intention and attention does this.

Equilibrioception: a sense of balance. This is what keeps us upright. My yoga teacher Star does this thing in yoga where we, step by step, bring one foot in front of the other, toe to heel, and then close one eye, and then (optionally) close the other eye while focusing our attention below our navel. And then to come out of it, without looking, we bring our feet back hip distance apart, side by side. This exercises this sense of balance and I love this practice.

Kinaesthesia: sense of movement. Ever tried qigong or tai chi? This sense of moving meditation slows down your brain waves and calms the mind.

In massage school, we had to give a massage blindfolded. Many people on the table said it was the best massage they received because the givers were so much more present - as the givers were honing in and focusing on their senses beyond sight, the receivers could also sense their increased presence and focus making the exchange more profound.

Without touch you can feel the vibe of a room that you walk into. You can perceive danger or safety.

We do this at the ocean when we sense the vastness of it. It's not just the sound of the waves and the smell of the salt air, it's also the vastness that the ocean occupies in space that gives us that calm feeling.

Try this:

  • Right now as you're most likely sitting somewhere reading this article, turn your attention to the space that's between you and your screen. There is a volume of space in between you and your screen and with a thought, can you bring your attention to it?

  • Now turn your attention to the space between your right shoulder and the wall of the room that you're in.... now focus on the volume of space between your left shoulder and the wall of the room that you're in. Sense your self expand in both directions, sense the space beyond your shoulders.

  • Now most of us are leaning forward, slumped forward, hunched forward, have our necks and head jutting out forward from screens, driving, sitting at our now turn your attention to the back of your body. Sense the space behind you. Breathe into the back of your head, your neck, your back, and the back of your legs. For just one minute, inhabit the back of yourself.

You can sense space anytime, anywhere with anyone. You can do it with eyes open or closed. It is easier to disconnect from our environment when we close our eyes (when we close off one sense, our others are heightened) but we can also sense space with eyes open, with practice.

Next time you're talking with someone, notice that if you bring your energy from your thinking mind (judging, waiting to speak, preoccupied by thoughts) and drop down to the space between yourself and their self, you'll notice how much capacity your nervous system has to listen and settle. You can listen to what they're saying (one sense) and also breathe and sense space between you (another sense). This is a muscle that needs exercising. With practice you will grow so much more patient, relaxed, present and receptive.

This works so well in conversation/with kids/partners/friends/life. Prepare yourself for the next time you're going to talk with someone to wait 3 seconds before responding... 1 one thousand, 2 one thousand, 3 one thousand... You can rehearse it before the event happens so you're prepped and ready. See, feel or imagine yourself responding instead of reacting.

Because, as Vicktor Frankl notoriously said, "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

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