Your Senses: Their Worth

Β “Memories establish the past; Senses perceive the present; Imaginations shape the future.” ~ Toba Beta, My Ancestor Was an Ancient Astronaut

Earlier this month I attended an annual gathering of Master Coaches and other Professional Masters. It was held at a beautiful San Diego property. One evening while seated at an outdoor reception (ten attendees to a table), we were provided with random written prompts (as if we were incapable of initiating conversation). πŸ™‚

The prompts were creative and thought-provoking. And they stimulated an interesting range of perspectives and responses. Then our table was presented with an age-old question: If you were to lose one of your five senses, which would you most regret losing and why?

I suspect most of us have fielded this question and have a fairly good idea how we’d respond. And I did, too, until I listened, carefully, to others describe their personal experiences and rationale. Several of the explanations shared, I’d not previously considered. And I found myself being open to yet more ways of thinking about and appreciating our physical senses.

There are many gifts in life that we take for granted. Or at least, that we don’t often reflect upon. Until we lose what is precious to us, we simply surmise that “it” will always be around.

It doesn’t hurt to rekindle relationships with what matters to you. In fact, it may be a timely reacquainting. So here’s an exercise you are welcome to try. It’s about engaging your five senses, for at least one minute each (just estimate the time). The point is to focus on the present moment and how each sense is being activated in that moment.

Hearing: Begin to relax by just noticing all of the sounds around you. Give yourself permission to suspend your judgment of the sounds. They are not good or bad, they just are. Are you now hearing more than you were when you started? Subtle sounds may have previously gone unnoticed. Can you hear them now?

Smell: Now shift your concentration to noticing the smells of your environment. Is somebody cooking lunch in your building or home? Can you detect the electronics smell of your computer or fresh air coming in through your window? Try closing your eyes so you can focus on the subtlest of scents.

Sight: If you closed your eyes a moment ago, open them now and notice the colors, shapes and textures of your surroundings. If you really look, just about everything has color variation and texture that may have gone unnoticed. How many shades of blue and red? Any color missing?

Taste: You can do this one regardless of whether you have food to put in your mouth. If you don’t have food, just notice your tongue in your mouth, your saliva, and your breath as you exhale. If you have a snack, take a small bite and notice all of the flavors and textures that arise. Run your tongue over your teeth and cheeks – what do you notice?

Touch: Where did you place your hands when you first started this exercise? Notice the sensation of where your hands meet something solid like the fabric of your clothes or the surface of your desk? Notice the pressure between your feet and the floor. Try feeling the textures that you noticed by sight a moment ago. To fully ground yourself and bring the exercise to a close, stand up and bring energy and sensation to all parts of your body.

Quite simply, your senses are amazingly valuable. Heightening awareness of them, renews your appreciation for their worth.

21 thoughts on “Your Senses: Their Worth

  1. I have lost my sense of smell. I was going to say something rude, but shall refrain. I shall do your test nonetheless. My mother lost her smell, then her taste, then her sight, then her hearing. She never lost her sense of humour. Great posting, Eric. You haven’t lost the touch in the interim.

  2. I loved this exercise .. So often we take our senses for granted like the very breath we breath.. We fail to breath deep and feel it pass down into our lungs as we hold it for a moment to exhale..

    Thank you Eric for this… It reminds us so much of these gifts… and each one is so precious..
    Enjoy your weekend

  3. This is a fabulous exercise for gratitude. I experienced both my ear and eyes being compromised this winter. It certainly brought this awareness to the front burner for me. In Buddhism , there are teachings on these senses. They are considered individual consciousnesses. Because they are all experienced fully on their own. The eye consciousness, the ear consciousness, the nose consciousness , etc. It is quite profound actually. Each one is very necessary for how we live and learn , grow and expand and how we die even. Glad you’re back bringing your awesome presence into writing again. I too was curious as to where you went.

  4. Eric this is very thought provoking. Which would i least want to lose? I think it would be sight. I am such a visual thinker. I do hope that whatever life brings I will greet it with a positive attitude and resilience.

    • Ditto re: losing one’s sight. Yet, and to your comment, those who have had one or more of their senses compromised or lost have amazing adjusted. Whether it is via heightening other senses of dealing with less, positively – they manage, many with great spirit! Thanks for adding to the post thread, Sue.

  5. Good exercise this Eric.Really got me thinking and just experiencing my senses more intentionally. I feel I need to do the exercise at least once a month. Thank you.

  6. Thank you of visited and putting a like on my post.
    It prompted me to look in on your posting.
    Your blog is great and this post was a pleasure to read.
    I have always thought for me loose my sight would be the worst.
    From another point of view, a white stick and the sense of feel can compensate.
    Also people see you have a problem.
    My hearing is now not spot on and when I do not respond when spoken to.
    I am reprimanded harshly.
    Kind regards Jack _/\_

  7. We do often forget the wonderful senses that we have got. As considered a cutaneous sense, pain is often not found to be desirable and people want to be free of it. But pain is what makes us know that we are hurt, we are wounded, we bleed and thus the healing begins. Without pain, one may bleed to death.
    I don’t know but your thoughts took me that way because every single organ, tissue, receptor, cell and sensation is important. It is significant and to cherish them all, it is realization and continuous recall that we need,
    And I still wonder, what was your answer to that question!? πŸ™‚

  8. I agree, “…every single organ, tissue, receptor, cell and sensation is important.” Equally important. To your question: my answer is none of the traditional five. I place greater value on my intuitive sense. It serves me vitally well and I depend upon it continuously. πŸ™‚

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