The senses are just naturally a part of us. I know we usually talk about having five senses, but if you have followed this blog in the last couple of months you have discovered there are more than five. Yes, you have ten (at least) senses. I actually discovered more (can you believe it?), but some of them will have to wait a little before I write about them. Today I share a beautiful sense, that is actually often talked about, looked at askance by many, and generally “unsupported.” However, I bet you have had “experiences” with this one. You can label it as coincidences if you want to, I don’t mind. But, I know we all have the intuitive sense. Just like the rest of the senses, you can innately have this sense to a greater or lesser degree than others. You can also develop your palette of experiences to strengthen what you do have. It is natural.
Try this… think of three times you “knew” something before someone told you, you felt who was going to call, or you said something at the same time as someone else. Why do kids jinx each other when this happens? It certainly is because it is so weird. Synchronicity is just strange feeling because we can feel how we are synchronizing ourselves with others and with the world around us.
To develop synchronicity, intuition, we need to pay attention to how we relate and attend to what is going on around us.
Intuition is a combination of the senses. It is as if you can read the “constant feed” you get from all the senses and make really good predictions about what it all means. Just as the brain has to work to coordinate the various signals coming from all of the body so they feel like they are happening simultaneously, I believe some of us can go beyond this and begin to get an idea of what is likely to come next or a deeper sense of the meaning of what is happening currently.
If you are concerned that if you looked at your own abilities, you don’t have them. Stop thinking you have to get things right. No one has intuition that is 100% correct. No one has taste buds that are, either. People who can smell even close to that accurately get special high class jobs in the Perfume Lab in Eze, France that is responsible for something like 97% of the world’s perfume combinations/creation. If you ever go to France, this is a great trip on the way to Monaco! (They have samples!) I loved visiting the shop! You cannot imagine how hard it is to get a job there. You have to have one of the 5 best noses in the world or something.
I once heard the most amazing discussion on NPR about Tracy May Adair who is a tasting expert for Folger’s Coffee. She was fantastic, and it sounded like her skill was so far above my own. It really can come across as almost magical! In fact, I recommend listening when you have a chance (Just under 4 minutes). Because of her very real mastery of a simple sense we all have, she can give you a good idea of what is possible with any of the senses. It is worth your time, because our senses are the only way we really get any information, have contact with others, or experience enjoyment. Adair actually says that smelling with such adeptness is “the same as learning a new color.” Can you imagine having that much skill with any of the senses? What is possible for mastery of one sense may be possible with all of the senses - or with this sense, intuition, which is the culmination of all the senses.
In yoga, we talk about the withdrawal of the senses as one of the key limbs of the practice (pratyahara). However, this is just one English translation of the word. It can also mean, control of the senses. The fact that during yoga practice we withdraw from the world around us to move our attention inward (dharana) and cultivate our inner perceptions of awareness does not mean that we are supposed to live in denial of the senses. Rather, we are encouraged to come to an understanding of what the senses are and what our right relationship with them (right use of them) can be. It is not contradictory to develop intuition and practice yoga. It is complimentary. Your ability to be aware of yourself in relation to all that is around you makes you a better yogi or yogini. But how you use your attention and skill in this regard can lead you into overindulgence or hyper-sensitivity, neither of which brings peace of mind, which is the purpose of yoga (yogas chitta vrtti nirodhah, Patanjali,Yoga Sutra 1.2).
So how can we develop the sense of intuition? If you are uncertain of your own skill, think of combining the senses, literally. Check through them to see what each sense gives you as you think on a particular subject, or experience a new situation. Try describing one sense using another, and how does that inform you? If it sounds difficult, it could be. If you have trouble multi-tasking, this is sort of like internal-multi-tasking. It requires practice. So does patting your head while rubbing your tummy!
1. Consciously try to use all the senses as you go through your day. Just paying attention does something to wake them up.
The Senses are:
- Sense of Direction
- The Music Sense (Musicality)
- Sense of Time
- Intuition (pulling the senses together)
2. Work on any of the senses that you find more difficult to use (go back through the suggestions of the poses from this week and try something each day, or at least each week).
3. Keep a notebook of your impressions and “feelings” about how things are going, and what may occur. You may find you pick up on more than you realize when you actually write them down.
4. Tell people your impressions as you get them. An example could be “I feel like you are worried about something. Is there anything I can do?” or “I wonder if it is going to be a long day.” Getting confirmation of your impressions helps you to pick up on them more clearly. As Adiar says, it’s like learning a new color. There is a reason we point to the colors as we name them for kids. All kids after the age of about 6 or 7 have to have exposure to a word about 200 times to have a clear sense of the word. This applies to all information and all people. So get confirmation.
5. Have a good time. This isn’t so serious. Learning is 90% play. So don’t worry if you are wrong about anything. The trick is to help the senses work in tandem, not to be a genius. Of course, let me know if you become one because of this! I would LOVE to do a story on you!
Yoga Pose of the Day: Revolved Triangle – Parivrtta Trikonasana
Yogic Concept of the Day: Let me see if I can blend my senses while I think on this, or work on this.
I hope you will have a truly enjoyable weekend!