The 5 Senses
At the outset let me wish a very good health for all our readers.
In this issue let me take this opportunity to write about a very interesting topic which was going on in my mind for sometime now—— The 5 Senses and it’s all round implication.
The five senses are our link to the world around us. Although many people enjoy full lives with sensory disabilities, any disturbances or loss of our senses can have a profound impact upon us.
The Five Senses
Each of our senses uses its own detection system to get information from our surroundings. The information is sent to the brain where it will be processed and combined to create a complete sensory picture of our environment.
- Sight: light and colour is detected by cells in the retina at the back of the eye.
- Sound: hair cells in the ear move in response to specific frequencies of sound.
- Taste: taste buds on the tongue react to salt, sour, bitter, sweet tastes in our food.
- Smell: special cells in the nose detect different chemicals in the air that we breathe in. We also detect the flavours in food as air moves from our mouth up into the back of the nasal cavity.
- Touch: various receptors in our skin can detect different types of touch, including pressure and vibrations.
Beyond the Five Senses
Although we often talk about the five senses, the reality is that we can sense a lot more than this from our environment. For example, we can tell how hot or cold it is, feel pain, and sense how our body is positioned. Each of these senses has its own system for detecting the environment that must send signals to the right part of the brain. The sense of balance comes from the vestibular organs in the inner ear, which can tell when our body is tilted in different directions. Even though we aren’t as aware of these other senses as we are of the main five senses they still have a significant impact on us.
Why Are Our Senses So Important?
However many senses we have, they can have a significant impact on us. Our senses:
Are our connection to the world around us so we need them to perceive our environment and to interact with other people.
Can help with everyday tasks such as driving, talking to people, or performing activities at work.
Are essential for our enjoyment of many experiences such as eating a meal or listening to music.
Are closely connected to our emotions and memories so they can have a very dramatic impact on how we feel.
If anything interferes with the function of our senses it can limit our interactions with the world around us or make it harder to perform certain activities.
The nature of the five senses is knowledge.
Every cell of your body has the ability of all the five senses. You can see without the eyes. Vision is part of consciousness; that is why in dreams you can see without the eyes. You can feel without the skin; that is why people without limbs can still feel itching in that part. You can smell without the nose; taste without the tongue.
The 5 senses and thinking ability are all present in consciousness. So each cell of the body has the potential ability to perform all the functions of the senses. When someone says something; you are all ears, you are listening from every cell of your body. There is the expression “looking from a 1000 eyes”; one is all eyes. All cells are made of the same tissue, each DNA has the ability of all functions of the body.
Consciousness is inherent in all the cells. Every sensory stimulus brings knowledge which is the nature of consciousness. Sight brings some knowledge – blue, red, green. Knowingness is the nature of consciousness.
Meditation can happen when there is harmony in the five senses.
When you sit for meditation, observe all your sensory organs. Observe your breath and eye movement.
Is your breath steady? Is the prana haphazard or is it smooth and normal?
Are your eyes steady? If your eyes are going all over the place, the mind is not in a meditative state.
When the senses are steady, the soul also becomes peaceful. Your being, your spirit inside you becomes steady.
You become totally relaxed, yet at the same time you possess sharpness of awareness, strength of intelligence. Your senses become so clear. You can see better, think better, hear better. Like a pure crystal, your senses come to reflect all objects as one Divinity. – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
The senses are the bridge, between objects and the Self.
Joy is the nature of the Self, but the five sensory organs perceive joy in external objects.
The following thoughts shake the senses:
that pleasure comes from objects.
that more pleasure will come from the objects.
When the senses shake even for a few minutes they become tired, and then they are unable to perceive/experience true joy.
The mind gallops towards the world of five senses. You may be sitting quietly – with eyes closed or open. But where does your mind go?
Towards sense of sight, you want to see something or somebody.
Towards sense of smell, taste, sound, touch.
Gallops towards something it has heard or read about.
Distractions of the senses:
Seeing: Eyes bring all sorts of temptation. Mind would be far more peaceful without the eyes. Eyes are the greatest distraction for the steadiness in the Self.
Hearing: You switch on the radio, and every five minutes, keep tuning to different stations.
Smell: You try one perfume, and then another one, and then yet another perfume.
Taste or sense of touch can also create cravings.
Craving for any of these experiences in the mind – can stop you from being in the present moment. When the mind withdraws from the senses, you are ready for meditation.
Steadiness in Prana – essential for meditation.
When the senses get steady – then the prana (which was shaky inside you) also becomes steady. When you don’t feel good, or when you are down, unhappy or afraid, observe your prana – it will be very shaky. How to make the prana steady?
Be aware of the state of the prana.
Be with it for a few moments.
You will experience that the prana becomes steady.
For a few moments tell yourself:
However beautiful a sight is, I am not interested in seeing it.
However great the food is, I am not interested to taste it this time.
However melodious music may be, I’m not going to listen to it now.
However beautiful it is to touch, I am not interested in feeling it.
Depriving your senses of the craving (even for a few moments) – takes you from the object, back to its source.
Your mind is tired, is burnt down by galloping on one desire after another.
Just turn back and see all the desires you have achieved – have they given you rest? No! They have created few more desires. Have desires given you fulfillment? No! They only gave you more hope that you can achieve more/have more – and that has put you on another trip.
So you are on a merry-go-round. It’s not even merry-go-round. The horses on the merry-go-round do not go anywhere – but give you an illusion that you have traveled miles and miles. Life has been such a journey – where you are galloping on your desires, yet reaching nowhere.
Repeated enjoyment of external stimuli – causes inertia and dullness:
Cooks often do not enjoy their own food.
The same piece of music heard over and over again loses its charm.
People in the sex industry do not enjoy sex.
With awareness – the stimuli lose their significance; whether they exist or not, makes no difference to you anymore. When the sun is shining, it makes no difference if the candle is lit or not.
Realising that all pleasures are just stimuli and that you are more than just stimuli , brings freedom.
Art of living Faculty
Regional Director GEP
Has been with the organisation since 20years, a meditator, a yoga enthusiast and an ardent devotee of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravishankar ji