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.