I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. ~George Washington Carver …
I’ve been hard at work on various chapters of Engaging the Senses and am hoping to have something to give my editor, the visionary author, John Nelson, at Book Works, before I go to LA for medical care at the end of the month. The title of chapter one, is “No Sense is an Island”. I called it this because while it is necessary to become familiar with the gifts of each sense individually; and to devote a chapter to each of them separately for clarity’s sake (pun intended),it is also essential to understand that this isn’t how they function most of the time.
Our senses are both independent and interdependent.
Our five senses–sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell–seem to operate independently, as five distinct modes of perceiving the world. In reality, however, they work closely together to enable the mind to better understand its surroundings.They regularly collaborate in the brain to provide accurate impressions of the world. Our ability to perceive the emotions of others relies on combinations of cues from sounds, sights and even smells. Therefore, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that activating one sense is likely to activate another sense. (For instance the smell of an old book, and the sound of its thick pages turning, reminds me of afternoons I spent sitting on the dirty carpet of the public library after school as a girl while my parents were at work.) Just as nourishing one sense usually involves nourishing other senses as well. More about that in the book where you’ll find two daily Engaging practices for nourishing all the senses at the same time.
Right now though, I want to stay focused (another bad pun) on our sense of sight. We live in a visually oriented culture, so this tends to be the predominate way in which we take information. Our eyes are constantly being assaulted by images. A lot of this visual litter, like pop-ups and billboards, is merely disturbing, but some is actually damaging. Endless replays of the latest gruesome murder scene on the nightly “news” for instance. This means that being really particular about what we ‘feed’ our sense of sight, and how we actually treat and care for our precious eyes is a must in our quest for a happier, healthier, life.
According to Wired.com a view of biodiversity reduces stress probably because it forces people to actively perceive the present moment, and other newer research by researchers at Emory University School of Medicine has shown that viewing the worlds of Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and other artists more strongly activates the brain’s “reward system” than simply looking at photographs of similar subjects!
What this means is that mindfully engaging our senses and feasting our eyes on images of Beauty in nature and Art is one of the best ways to reclaim and harness the power of our senses and take charge of our lives, while simultaneously foiling those who are attempting to manipulate and use them for their own means and material gain.
Please visit me again later this week. I’ll be posting a few simple hands on practices for giving our eyes some of the tender loving care they need and deserve.
Hope to ‘see’ you then…..XO,