Taste. Smell. Hearing. Touch. Sight. These are the five senses with which we are familiar. Then there’s the Sixth Sense which has been variously described as a gut feeling, second sight, clairvoyance, telepathy, precognition, extrasensory perception, psychic abilities, a hunch, instinct. Taken in combination with our other senses we can perceive and experience reality that transcends the usual boundaries of time and space.
I use the term intuition to describe the sixth sense. Intuition is the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. Everyone has intuition though some such as the highly sensitive have a deeper intuition than normal and rely on it more. But for everyone intuition is a part of being human that can be honed and trusted the more it is used.
Most of us who grew up in the 1960’s were discouraged from using intuition. This was the space age, when math and science meant everything. Empirical science constituted the most authoritative worldview at the time. It was considered the most valuable part of human learning to the exclusion of other viewpoints. Many still hold this to be true as we’ve become a society ruled by technology.
The cliché had been that only women could read minds and hearts, that feminine intuition. We now know that intuition is common to both men and women, to anyone in touch with gut feelings. In fact science tells us that our abdomen has a huge neural network that rivals that of the brain in informing us as to how we feel in the moment and how we might react to situations.
All six of our senses are meant to work in harmony to helping us live full lives. Yet we often sabotage our senses by ignoring them or by deadening their effectiveness through food, drink, drugs, or activity. Rushing at break-neck speed through our day may make us feel valued and effective, but it also may undermine our ability to feel deeply. Let’s go through the senses so that I can explain what I’m getting at.
Taste. Many of us Americans eat to live rather than live to eat. We barely taste our food as we shovel it into our mouths between activities. The food industry knows this and uses salt, fat, carbohydrates, and sugar to ratchet up the taste quotient. This overwhelms our senses and ultimately dulls our sense of taste. And given the wide use of anti-acids and artificial fiber it’s clear that our eating habits are interfering with our digestive processes.
Smell. Our sense of smell is being overrun by artificial odors almost everywhere we go. I find it ironic that many people rely on heavily scented candles and plug-ins at home or buy products to mask nasty odors when a good cleaning is called for. Our ability to taste relies in great part on our sense of smell so it’s no wonder that both are being manipulated by the food industry.
Hearing. Ever notice how noisy the world has become? Computer mainframes, ventilation systems, ambient music, hard surfaces, clattering dishes, multiple televisions blaring, and bars plunked in the middle of restaurants all contribute to noise pollution. And how do many people combat it? By plugging in ear buds and cranking up their pods to drown it all out or by yelling at each other as if the “vibe” thus created makes us feel more alive.
Touch. Are you touch-deprived? We use our sense of touch constantly to grab or to hold. Yet how often are we conscience of how something actually feels? To be healthy we need long hugs, soft embraces, the sound of each other’s breath. I wonder if our need for furry pets and the billions we spend on them as guaranteed sources of comforting touch is an indication of how touch deprived we really are.
Sight. What are you looking at right now? It’s probably an electronic device such as a computer, notepad, or smart phone. What’s the next thing you’ll look at after you finish reading this? Might it be another electronic screen, such as the TV? When was the last time you gazed into the eyes of another person? Or spent time really looking at nature or a piece of artwork?
Intuition. All of our senses flow into our sixth sense. They serve to gather information and send it to our gut. Only then do we check with the rational brain to clarify what to do with the information we perceive.
You can indeed read minds and heart. It just takes practice and a de-cluttering of our senses. How might you ratchet down the abuse your five senses receive everyday in order that you develop your sixth sense in our over-stimulating world?
All original artwork is copyrighted by the artist, Michael Parise