Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The Abundant Life - 7 of 7 - Sensitivity.


And so we come to the conclusion of my series on the seven signs of life (movement, nutrition, reproduction, excretion, growth, respiration, and sensitivity) as a means to enjoying more of a life to the full.

Sensitivity, the seventh sign, has dual-aspects: internal and external. I remember hearing an account of a frustrated PA informing the boss that her 2 o'clock meeting had been moved forward, her 4 o'clock had been cancelled, and that her feelings had been trying to get in touch with her for the last 6 months! We need the inner sensitivity of knowing ourselves, and we need the balance of sensitivity to the outside world – knowing others and knowing our environment. Only then can we be 'present' and 'safe'. We are not isolated islands on the sea of consciousness but dancers in the ballet of life. We need the other dancers, the orchestra, the backstage support, the theatre and the audience. And we need to be able to spot our cues.

To be successfully sensitive, we must tune in to the 'now'. When our gift of consciousness is assailed by fears, we can allow it to flee to the sanctuary of past or future thoughts.  Whilst I celebrate these journeys at times, the fact is that the abundant life is the gift of the present. 'Mindfulness' or 'Presence' are attractive concepts to be embraced here and now.

Of course, "Sensitivity" involves the nervous system as the pathways from the 5 gateways of the senses. To practice presence, you might like to have a go at the following exercise:

Place your fingers and thumbs together touching in a mirror image of one another (sometimes called "Steepling"). Now, allow your index fingers to press together a little more firmly than the rest. This is your trigger to switch on a focused awareness of what you are seeing in the present. What can you see now that you had not been noticing moments before?

Relaxing the index fingers, now put extra pressure on your middle fingers.
This is the switch for a higher awareness of the sense of hearing. What can you hear now that you weren't tuning into moments before? I will even close my eyes at this point and suddenly become away of the 3D sound environment in which I am present.

You can guess the rest – just work through your fingers and thumbs until you've checked in with physical sensations, scents and tastes. It really brings you into the 'Now'.

Whilst there are issues to address such as inner hyper-sensitivity, let's save that for another blog. To conclude here I would like to share one of Leonardo da Vinci's suggestions for living a life to the full. He encouraged his apprentices to develop their senses. He asserted that we can all too easily see without seeing, hear without hearing... even taste without tasting.

Be here now – this is your moment – this is your life.  Live it to the full.

A Moodscope member.


  1. I wonder if I am unconsciously practising mindfulness all the time as a defence since it tends to be to the exclusion of everything else in my life which needs addressing and therefore doesnt get done. Unless that is some other trait such as being blinkered or lazy? Does anyone else experience this?

  2. I understand the natural tendency to defend ourselves with a technique that works for us, Rupert. The fact that you're wondering about this suggests a high degree of sensitivity, which is a great start. Sensitivity is pretty binary: inside or outside. Directing your awareness to being more sensitive to others is a 'switch' that just needs to be flipped.
    If I find myself 'interrupted' by my own agenda (when seeking to tune into others), I drown out my own inner dialogue by repeating to myself what they are saying. This echoing technique works well for me, and keeps me sensitive to their present without space for me to be thinking about what I'm going to say next.

    1. I wish more people would learn and practise your technique Lex (repeating what people are saying to you so that you forget your own agenda). All too often people in discussions are waiting impatiently, with glazed eyes, for someone to stop speaking so that they can chip in with their own agenda.

  3. I've realised folks that there's no summary to this series, so here are seven thoughts:
    1) If you're MOVING towards something you want more of you're enroute to a fuller experience of life;
    2) If you are opening yourself up to experiences that energise you (NUTRITION), you're on the right path;
    3) If you're passing on your gifts and talents, your wisdom and your insights to others (REPRODUCTION), you're fulfilling a great role in life;
    4) If you're learning from every setback and disappointment - to the point where you could face it better next time, you're learning the biggest lesson (EXCRETION);
    5) If you sense that you are maturing in ways that you appreciate, that's great (GROWTH);
    6) If you are deliberately and consciously entering into a giving and receiving relationship with others in your life, you are RESPIRING in a healthy way;
    7) And if you know yourself and are really SENSITIVE in the way you tune in to others, well, I think you're doing pretty excellently.
    Now, add all these together and you'll find the total is greater than the sum of the parts - they will multiple your joy in life exponentially.

    1. Thank you very much, Lex, this looks like a great summary. I like summaries ;) I will print this out for myself, or better translate it to my language and write it down to remind me from time to time about those important points!

  4. I have never done the fingers exercise Lex until today. It works. I love it that I can learn new things from Moodscope.

    1. Hi Julia
      There is so much 'nose' and 'static' and 'traffic' in my mind that I find the fingers exercise a merciful release... it pulls me back into the present and offers up gifts of fresh awareness.

    2. And by 'nose' I mean 'noise'!!!

  5. Thank you Lex for a perceptive post, also the summary. You said it all - much to learn from those wisdoms.

  6. Like, like, like...