Published: 30th August 2021
The luxury of sensation
Sometimes we get a pleasant surprise when we least expect it. I was on an errand and walking quite quickly to my destination. It was a warm, still, mid-afternoon and all was quiet. I was being careful where I placed my feet as the pavement was a little uneven and I was making sure that I avoided tripping. All of a sudden, I was cocooned in an envelope of glorious sweet-smelling scent. I stopped and noticed the tree that you see in the picture; well, this was the canopy, the top of which was probably six metres high. It hovered well over my head, with no low branches so I could get closer to the source of this amazing smell. In spite of being in a bit of a hurry I stopped and savoured the moment. The strong smell bringing a tingle to my nose, and, as I admired the wonderful tree, and saw the blue sky. I carried on with a smile as wide as could be.
It was one of those moments that just caught me off guard, a true sensory attack of the most pleasant kind.
Reflecting on the experience, and the remembered day, it reminded me of two different aspects of our self that we have at our disposal. There is usually a preference for one or the other; that does not mean we cannot ‘access’ the other. The swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, C G Jung wrote about sensation (one of the aspects), the use of the five senses which brings us into the present moment, or allows us to reflect on a past memory rooted in one or more of the senses. The other aspect he wrote about was intuition, the use of a ‘sixth sense’ or a future focus on a bigger picture.
Often when a test is undertaken to identify what our leading senses are, the test restricts itself to the elements of seeing, hearing and feeling; yet with some people, and indeed in some circumstances, taste or smell may well be the trigger.
In this case it was the smell, but if I had closed my eyes, I would not have had the reminder that in my last garden we had planted one of these specimens - probably as it was dramatically smaller the amount of scent was faint. Who knows what it may be like all these years later, if it is still standing. I am not totally confident I have the right plant; I am not plantsperson – if I am right, the specimen in the picture is about three times the normal height one would expect in England.
I know when I walked on, on that day, I was both immersed in my sensory attack and enjoying reminders of what I had experienced before. I also vividly remembering the way my mind was creating new and bigger possibilities – but that is for another conversation!
Insights Discovery is initially accessed through the four dominant colours, discussed elsewhere; with their blends create greater texture and understanding of self and others. All of these colours will have a bias for sensation or intuition as an additional element.
I have certainly noticed that the use of our senses has diminished in our fast-paced world. There seems to be an urgency to get to the next, to move forward, to move fast. To gain deep enjoyment of almost anything, time invested in savouring can, and does, pay rich dividends. For example, the vintage wine which takes years to mature is usually enjoyed slowly, with due ceremony. Think, if it were merely used to quench our thirst, or to help some food to go down, with our attention elsewhere, what was the real point in selecting the wine? What would have been the point in the producer taking the effort and time to nurture the vineyard and grapes, craft their skills, and deploy correct cellar management, and so much more, before it fills our glass?
How much is one missing in the haste that could bring so much richness to the experience? Indeed, how many riches of the financial kind are being missed, perhaps by not allowing our initial sense to be the trigger to embrace more of our senses? As the comment so often used: 'to bring us to our senses'.
I will leave you with the example from this tree – my initial notice was drawn by the scent; I then looked at the profusion of blossom; when I stopped I felt no breeze, I did feel the warmth on my skin; by listening that little bit harder I could discern the buzz of a few bees checking out tree (a few days later it was a mass of buzzing bees collecting their prize); taste wise there was little to report - I was not able to reach the blossom and probably would have avoided trying to eat it anyway. So, with a little time taken the experience is deepened.
Sadly, all too often one fails to take the time to enjoy the sensory attack, to deepen the experience, to create a stronger memory, to start to envision new possibilities, new opportunities.
Now how often do we do that with people too?
My best wishes,