I don’t know about you, but sometimes I miss being a kid. As children, our senses — taste, touch, sight, sound, and smell – inform our perception of the world. We are able to be mindful and present without any real concept of what those words mean. Simple observations such as these allow us to really appreciate beauty, embrace our fears, and feel true joy. As we grow older and life becomes a little more hectic, it’s easy to lose sight of the beauty that simplicity holds.
Life is beautifully chaotic. There is love but there is also suffering. There is simplicity but also complexity. In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang describe how seemingly opposite events- such as light and darkness – are interconnected. For instance, there can be no shadows without light. This philosophy can also be used to help bring some balance into our lives. Maybe there’s a way to find inward peace when there is chaos all around. Any time there is a pain, you have the choice to ignore it, repress it, dwell on it or you can use it as an opportunity and allow it to transform you. No one lives a life unscathed and being able to internalize and accept challenges and hardships with grace and ease may be a way to help you find light in even the darkest of places. Read on to find out how to use your senses to bring a little more balance into your life.
Eckhart Tolle, an influential spiritual teacher, recommends the following to bring awareness within. Begin by paying attention to the energy and life inside your hands and feet. Starting at your extremities may open the gate for exploring and bringing awareness to the rest of the body.
You can incorporate this inward practice throughout your day. As you go about your daily tasks, take notice of how those actions affect the feelings inside your body. How does it feel to walk on your lunch break, to handle a difficult situation? Creating a stronger mind-body connection through mindfulness practices such as these will do wonders for bringing balance into your life.
Inner Sight (literally, insight!)
Over time, you might get so good at looking inward that it starts to occur naturally. Being able to look within is sometimes referred to as the “third eye”. Being able to look within is a beautiful thing and can offer up some wonderful insight your life. Don’t be discouraged if you’re having a little trouble at first, as with insight in general – it takes a lot of practice and patience.
Try This Practice:
- Close your eyes and see whatever thoughts or images are running through your head. You may only see lights, bright spots, darkness or images. That’s an excellent starting point. Keep an eye on everything in your mind.
- Move your inner sight into the body, also using your sense of inner feeling to touch and look at each part of your body, peering into what the body holds. Imagine what you want. Create the picture in your mind as explicitly as you’d like. Once you start seeing your mind’s images, you can stimulate your imagination to generate the images you’d like to see.
- Soon you’ll be able to use your imagination with your eyes open again. The imagination is one of our most beautiful and magical gifts.
What we tell ourselves is not always the truth. Being able to distinguish between what is true and what’s not can be a difficult task. For instance, you may hear voices inside your head spouting out negativity like “your not good enough” or “you’ll never be able to achieve that goal”; but guess what? That’s not at all true. Distinguishing the good from the bad can help you to strengthen the more connections in your brain. This requires a little more work than the other two- but it just might be the most important.
Try This Practice:
- Close your eyes and bring attention to the ears, slowly moving to the space between your ears (aka the brain!). Keep your focus there. Let your awareness become a microphone for your thoughts, hooked to a speaker that communicates directly to you at all times. Become wholly still and quiet. Focus your listening as sharply as possible to the thoughts and beliefs going through your mind.
- When listening to the body, you’ll most likely need to move your awareness into one of the chakras, like the throat, heart, solar plexus, belly and pelvic floor. You’ll start to see how all the inner senses work together as the outer senses do.
- Allow thoughts to come and pass. As you strengthen this action, take notice of how your thoughts start to change the better!
Insight happens as we learn more about the world and how we fit inside of it. Use these techniques to create and strengthen a connection between your inner and outer world. Be patient with yourself and welcome curiosity, exploration, and discovery of the spiritual senses into your life!