MAKING SENSE OF YOUR SENSES
Our Sense Organs & Our Mind
Our sense organs are our organs of perception: our eyes, ears, nose, tongue & skin. They are important since they allow us to perceive information from the external world and help communicate this information to our physical body and mind. If the information we receive via our sense organs is balanced and wholesome in quantity and quality (optimal), our experience is harmonious. Whereas information received from overuse or misuse of the sense organs will be distorted and have a disturbing effect upon our mind, body and nervous system. This is a concept that I first came across while studying Ayurveda many years ago.
Sense Organs as Organs of Perception
If all is going well, we perceive the following via our sense organs. From our eyes we receive sight; from our ears we receive sound; from our nose we receive smell; from our tongue we receive taste; and from our skin we receive touch. Usually, if any of these are absent, one or more of the others steps up to compensate.
Overuse Leads to Overstimulation & Irritation of our Body, Nervous System & Mind.
Overuse of the sense organs leads to over stimulation, where the mind no longer feels enjoyment.
EYES (SIGHT) - staring too long at a bright computer or mobile screen; over straining the eyes in some way so they become bloodshot; binge watching television.
EARS (SOUND) - listening to very loud, unpleasant music or sounds.
NOSE (SMELL) - smelling overly strong smells like perfume or even overly strong essential oils; smelling very sharp, pungent odours.
TONGUE (TASTE)- overuse of different flavours has different effects eg: too much sweet taste leading to obesity, blood sugar disturbances, Type 2 Diabetes etc; overeating large quantities of the wrong types of food.
SKIN (TOUCH) - overusing the skin until it develops blisters, reddens, or thickens to protect itself; exposure to extreme heat or cold.
Underuse Means Not Fully Utilising Our Senses So We Lack Awareness & Become Dull
With underuse of the sense organs we lack stimulation, are not fully attentive, and there is a sense of dullness. We may ignore what we perceive
EYES (SIGHT) - failing to see the details of things clearly; trying to read in a too dark room or under poor light; not having exposure to enough daylight; not paying attention to where we're walking.
EARS (SOUND) - refusing to listen; having so much wax in the ears that we can't hear properly.
NOSE (SMELL) - not smelling things.
TONGUE (TASTE) - having very bland food all the time, where there's no flavour to stimulate the digestive juices; an inability to taste things correctly which leads to digestive problems; extended fasting/not eating for too long; eating too quickly so before your tongue can taste the food properly.
SKIN (TOUCH) - never getting any sunlight; lack of physical touch or massage
Misuse Means Using Our Sense Organs in Ways They Were Not Intended to be Used
Misuse of the sense organs leads to irritation, aggravation and potential damage
EYES (SIGHT) - watching or being exposed to violent images; staring at glaring screens for too long; trying to focus on a small, distant object for too long; staring directly at the sun in the middle of a bright, sunny day; putting something toxic in the eyes.
EARS (SOUND) - listening to very high pitched or loud sounds for too long until it damages the internal ears; hearing bad news or harsh sounds; cold wind in the ears; putting anything in the ears that shouldn't be there; overly long phone conversations.
NOSE (SMELL) - smelling noxious/toxic/poisonous smells leading to headaches and ill health.
TONGUE (TASTE) - tasting spoiled food or poisonous substances; eating incorrect food combinations or overconsumption of very hot, spicy food.
SKIN (TOUCH) - extreme heat or cold exposure causing damage; unwelcome touch; sharp glass piercing the skin.
So What's The Solution?
Observation is a great first step. Check in with yourself and observe. Have you been overusing, underusing or misusing your senses? Would it serve you better to
Retreat to a quite place if feeling overwhelmed or anxious?
Take a gentle herbal nervine instead of stimulating caffeine?
Put the phone down sooner, especially if you don't enjoy the conversation?
Actively listen and pay attention if needed?
Watch where you're walking?
Stop staring at the bright screen and close your eyes instead? Try using a slightly weighted eyebag so the eyes can rest.
Let daylight or fresh air into a room?
Let your eyes see gentle daylight rather than staying cooped up in the dark?
Improve your diet so the flavours you eat support your health without overwhelming or underwhelming your digestion?
Turn the music down a little? Or if you can't control the loud sounds you're hearing, wear earplugs as needed?
Have a massage or self massage if you are lacking touch in your life.
You get the idea...
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