January 27, 2009

Experiencing life, one sense at a time

I had a conversation with some good friends the other day, and one of them mentioned an idea of the Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh. Hanh notes that most of us don't really embrace our sensory pleasures as we should, that we take them for granted (and I might possibly be citing his idea a little bit incorrectly, so if someone is more knowledgable than I am, feel free to correct me in a comment). I thought about it, and that idea resonated really well with my thoughts on single tasking, which I discussed in my recent post.

I thought about it, and I have a proposition: experience your day-to-day actions one sense at a time. It might not be practical if you're in an environment that's really busy, but when you're at home or anywhere by yourself, try it. When you're eating, close your eyes and turn off the music, TV, podcasts, whatever. When you're listening to music, close your eyes and stop eating. When you're viewing photography, stop everything else you're doing. Reduce all the other noise and stop eating. You get the point.

For me, trying this has actually amplified my sensory experiences. It has worked the same way people describe when you lose a sense (i.e. going deaf or blind), your other senses become more acute. Deactivate other sense as much as you can to really enjoy the one that you're working with, with purpose. Maybe it'll work. Just another idea to amplify that other sense we all have (I hope, at least) - the one of gratitude.

Persimmon perfection. (Just noticed how bad my haircuts usually are from this picture. Kind of grateful my most recent one didn't turn out as horribly)

Stay real,

P.S. If I'm drinking a really shit smoothie that I made or if anything I made goes bad, I'll blast the music, watch really action-packed movies, and smell everything I can. The taste practically disappears :)

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