Our Sense-able Body

In my last post I said that I would rather show up in my body, with all it’s challenges, to heal and be present than dissociate. This is an ongoing learning and as I become more comfortable being in my body I am discovering my sensible self. This is not the pragmatic and rational part of me that urges me towards the prudent and right thing to do or say but rather the wild and hungry part of me that is nourished and wizened though the five senses of my body. I am becoming sense-able, willing and able to be informed and guided by my senses into the here and now. Wow, what wisdom, what depth, what aliveness!

The word ‘sensible’, at its root, means to be ‘perceptible by the senses’ and yet somewhere along the line it morphed into this idea of prudence, functionality and rightness. But our senses are not about what is right or good or practical but about simply what ‘is’. They give us the moment to moment account of our current embodied experience. They offer us a depth of meaning and experience below the labels and concepts we apply to each encounter. So I have been contemplating how I can become more sense-able and start to drop some of the preconceived ideas and judgements I have about myself, you and the world around me. Here’s one practice I have been exploring…

  • I take time every day to be in perception rather than conception. To drop down into my senses out of my brain. I offer myself a perception workout just like I myself a physical or mental workout.
  • Here’s how you can start…5 minute sense workout – 1 minute per sense – increase as much as you like as there are no limits to the benefits and no contraindications.
    • Touch – drop down into your skin and sense the texture of anything that is touching you; your clothes, the floor, a chair, the keyboard, etc. Feel it without identifying or labeling it. Just enjoy the essential hardness, scratchiness, softness, etc. of the moment.
    • Sight – gently stare out the window at whatever is in your line of sight. See and sense the colors and shapes without imposing what you know about what you are looking at.
    • Hearing – without adding or taking away anything simply listen to the sounds around you, allowing them to penetrate you without judgement. Welcome the jackhammer, the concerto, the traffic and the baby crying enter equally without preference. Just letting the sounds be the sounds.
    • Smell  – allow the odors to come to you, subtle and strong, agreeable or not. Let the smells have their wide range of impact.
    • Taste – really take the time to taste the food you put in your mouth. Notice the different tastes of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and savory without trying to pin them on a particular food. Be with the taste.
    • Ultimately, our senses work in concert to give us a deep and resonant experience of each moment, if we allow for the impressions to seep in.
  • Next practice is to stay with one or more of your sensory impressions as you bring your attention to something else and see how it informs your words, attention and activity.

This practice has given me numerous gifts well beyond becoming more ‘sensitive’ to my immediate surroundings. This practice grounds me and allows me to settle my over worked and anxious mind. It brings me into the here and now, giving me a moment of respite and a portal away from the worries of past and future. Amazingly, it has also started to undermine and uproot my judgements and proclivities, opening me up to a more compassionate, present and loving state of body-mind-heart. Even in the decision making process I am starting to seek the wisdom of my sense-able body as it informs me of the depth of my connection to the world and gives me a larger context in which to consider my actions. So next time someone tells you to be sensible, smile softly and drop down into your sense-able body and see what it has to say about your immediate experience, and let that inform your response and your next unfolding. Would love to have you post your experiences here.


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