There are moments in each day, where our senses fool us. There are moments in each day where our senses needle at us, or recall something to us, our intrigue us. There are moments that they take us somewhere we have been before. There are moments they take us somewhere we have not been before. They have a way of making the non-familiar, feel familiar.
What are you perceiving right now? Your eyes see the words printed in this blog. Your hands feel the texture of the keys that you touch in order to type. Your eyes hear the nearby noises of the playlist you have softly playing in the background. Your nose might detect food cooking upstairs, or the smell of your lover’s laundry detergent on clothing left behind. Your tongue might taste the sugar remnants left over from your last meal. As you focus more on the things that we never truly focus on, you will begin to perceive even the smallest bits of your visual background, foreground and their after tones. You may even become hyper aware of your hair as it touches your skin, the clothing on your body, and your breathing patterns — the way different parts of your body ebb and flow with inhalation and exhalation.
There is strength, and power to be found within these five senses, although scientists say there can be as many as nine. Including Thermoception (the sense of heat and the absence of heat (cold)), nociception (the non-conscious perception of nerve damage), equilibrioception (the perception of balance and acceleration), and proprioception (the perception of body awareness).
The fact is, is that our bodies and our minds perceive so much more than we are aware of. Only after external examination can we truly see the affect they have on our daily integration, and experience with the world around us.
There is reason to this madness, and why the senses intrigue me. There are moments like the ones you will read below, that remind me just how powerful our senses can be. And if you are truly open to them. They can change your life, and your way of perception.
Today as I laid in Savasana at the end of my yoga class, cool air swept over me, as the AC unit and the room rolled over. A song played quietly in the background, but became louder as the acoustics from the room bounced the melody around. The sound of the guitar strings vibrated in my ears, the piano keys hit the floor and ceiling quite loudly, and the lyrics began to pour forward. Without my approval my eyes began to water. A sense of memory came back to me. I found myself laying in the same scenario, but two years prior. I heard that song for the first time then. And the first time I heard that song, my heart was broken. My mind wasn’t in a good space, my trust had dissipated, and my faith in myself was very flat. I was laying there in that class because I was looking for something to fix me. I was looking for my practice to be something more than my practice. I was searching for a healing that I could not find elsewhere.
I had just completed my yoga teacher training, and someone from my external world had broken my heart. On a day that I thought may be my worst…..that song played as I lay down at the end of my yoga practice. My mind had just begun to quiet, I could feel the chatter subside, and every part of my body had melted into the wooden floorboards below me. I am not sure why that song was the song that changed everything for me. At a time when I thought everything was broken, that song reminded me that it was only broken if I chose it to be. And I cried as I laid there in Savasana, because I knew that I had to move on. I knew whatever it was that I was holding onto, wasn’t real anyone….or maybe never was. I knew that my life was about to change, and that all the plans I had made prior were going to have to be left behind. That was a hard thing to realize in the middle of a room, lying on the floor, surrounded by strangers. But I knew that my senses were trying to send me a loud message, that I had been ignoring before.
I realized in that moment that, that song was for me. That class was for everyone, but that song had played in a way, in a moment that was truly unique to my story, and to my future. And maybe someone else felt something within… that made that song essential to them. But they didn’t feel what I felt, their senses shared a different experience with them. Hearing, in that moment, I thought to myself…….was such a very mighty thing. It was a beautiful thing, and it was a heartbreaking thing. Sound meant everything in that moment, and with it my entire body resonated with the sounds of that piano, and that guitar and those lyrics.
So today when I laid there, and the same song came on, and the cool air swept over me, and I melted into the wooden floorboards again…..my sense revisited me. And I didn’t cry this time, because my heart was broken. I cried because what had happened two years ago in that moment had changed my life. I was a different person. One little song, one tiny moment, and one sense of knowing had allowed me to hear that song in such a special way. It had changed my trajectory in the world at the time, and my trajectory ever since. And I felt like it was a reminder to be present. To be present for the pain, for the change, for the discomfort, for the reminders, and for the beauty that comes with perception through senses. This reminder, through a familiar song, didn’t need to be unpleasant today, because I didn’t treat it as so. I welcomed it, and I let it take me over for a moment. I let it remind me of my humanity, and growth. And it was beautiful. I laid there with tears falling to the sides of my face, with one hand on my heart, and one hand on my belly and I smiled, and I begun to feel my breath. Deeply, feeling the rise and fall of my chest. And I felt so alive in that moment, that my entire body felt electric. I could feel the music within every bone, and pore of my body.
I wandered how many songs had played in my past, that I didn’t truly hear. And how many times my senses had invited me to perceive, but I wasn’t present enough to allow it to change me.
It is funny how a song can tear your soul in half, and then with time and reflection it can build you up, and make you smile. It can show you light in every single spec of humanity. I hope that you never miss another song, that gives you a chance to gain that type of emotional, and transitional freedom.
Keep your ears open, and your heart expanded.
So many more senses to explore. But for now, I’m just keeping my ears open to the music.
Tell me, oh magical one……what moments can you recall to light….that your senses made you feel this way? Tell me a story.