As human beings in the world, we’re very sense-oriented – always taking in the world through our sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. But, how often are we fully present in the moment to the gift of our senses during the course of a day?
The call of the mourning dove as the sun rises from the horizon. The crunchy sweetness of juicy watermelon on a hot summer’s day. The buzzing of a bee around the fragrant blossom of an apple tree.
You can mindfully engage each of your senses by bringing them into your spiritual practice. It’s a stimulating experience that will leave you feeling invigorated and fully alive!
If you have a special place for your spiritual practice in your home, this is a perfect place for you to give it a try and awaken your 5 senses.
First, take a moment to focus on your 5 senses and how you might actively engage each one. Which sense is most active for you – that you enjoy and prefer? What way could you enliven that sense?
And how about the other ones? What resonates with you for each sense? This may help you decide.
Here are a few ideas for each of the 5 senses to get you started.
The Sense of Sight – Choose a color related to the mood you’d like. Blue or deep violet are relaxing and calming like floating in the tranquil waters of the sea. Yellow or gold radiates warmth and light like the shining sun. Maybe you choose a pillow, cloth, or flower of the color you desire.
Another possibility’s to burn a candle and awaken your sense of sight through watching the flickering flame.
Or you might sit near a window or sliding glass doors to see the beauty of nature outside – the trees, sun, flowers, birds. Of course, you can also sit outside with the beauty of nature all around!
The Sense of Smell – To enliven your sense of smell, you might choose an essential oil to diffuse or burn incense in the room. Lavender’s calming and pine or juniper will leave you feeling surrounded by the beauty of a forest.
For a more subtle experience, consider a fragrant plant or a sprinkling of a spice. A rosemary plant can clear and refresh your mind (and room) much like a thunderstorm does to the air on a hot summer afternoon while cinnamon will comfort and warm you within like the smell of cinnamon cookies baking in a warm kitchen on a cold winter’s day.
If you light a candle, a pure beeswax one will bring the sweet smell of honey wafting through the air.
The Sense of Sound – To awaken your sense of hearing, you could have peaceful background sound such as a water fountain flowing or birds chirping outside the window. Or you may choose to play meditation music or speak a mantra softly. If this is a sense that you resonate with strongly, you may want to explore a variety of sounds to see what works best for you.
Also, don’t forget the sound of silence! We hear silence so rarely in our daily lives, so you might want to try to create silence in order to stimulate your sense of hearing.
Sense of Taste - Of course, you don’t want to have a meal or snack while you’re meditating! But, maybe you consider the smell you’ll choose and connect the taste to that. Our sense of smell and taste are very related. A cup of herbal tea such as lavender or peppermint will support a calming environment. A taste of a touch of cinnamon or a mint leaf may enliven your mouth. Or even a sip of water flavored with fresh fruit. There are so many choices here! Just remember your intention of awakening your senses - which means something small, yet flavorful, is your best bet. It’s not meal time!
Sense of Touch- As you sit in your chair or on the floor for your spiritual practice, you immediately feel your body come in contact with the material of the cushion underneath you. The air, whether cool or warm, dry or moist, caresses your exposed skin and gently floats in and out of your nose. You may add a warm, soft blanket around your shoulders if it’s a cold day. Or a small pillow to support your back.
Settling into your sacred space, you can take a few moments to massage your hands slowly one finger at a time starting at the palm of the hand moving toward the tips of each finger. You might also want to massage your feet! These gentle yet intentional movements will not only enliven your sense of touch in your hands and feet, but in your whole body!
Now that you’ve contemplated how to engage your 5 senses and have settled into your sacred space, as you enter into your meditation or prayer be present in the moment with your 5 senses. What do you feel touching your skin? What are the sounds you hear? What taste lingers in your mouth or smell in the air? Focus on what is in the moment and given to you as a gift to experience the world through your senses.
As you complete your practice, express your gratitude for your body that allows you to experience the world. Feel how you’re invigorated and fully alive as you enter back into your day!
Don’t forget to check out the many resources available to support you in your spiritual practice in my Free Healing Library here.
I was born in London, England, educated in Switzerland, and am fluent in English, German, Spanish, and French. I hold a Doctorate in Ministry Degree and Masters Degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. Also, I am an accomplished artist and educator. I use all of this and much more when helping others heal their souls.