How to heighten your senses

by on August 19, 2009
in Mind Maps

how-to-heighten-your-senses-mind-map-paul-foreman

Leonardo da Vinci suggested heightening the senses to enhance your life experiences.

Great advice!

How can you heighten your senses?

Below are 25 ways to bring more presence to your daily activities.

These experiences may be very new to you. When you read and experiment with the suggestions try not to be spooked by how brilliant you are! You will start to become much more aware of your amazing body and what it is capable of.

With each suggestion try also sensing the experience in 360° For example: if I say listen to a close sound and one far away, listen to sounds all around you not just in front of you.

See for yourself how simple it is to have a richer more rewarding life experience!

1 Close your eyes to enhance your hearing

Focus solely on the listening – notice every sound, close, far, loud, quiet. Listen for rhythms, beats and repetitive noises. Pick out distinct sounds like individual birdsong. Notice also the sounds come from silence and return to silence. Be aware of the gaps as much as the sounds. Listen to music with your eyes closed. Try following two separate sounds individually. For the ultimate test try listening to two different recordings on headphones: one in each ear! See if you can follow and understand both recordings.

2 Focus totally on your breath

Slow your breathing right down. Breath deeply, gently and fully and pay attention to the air passing in and out of your lungs – see how it slows or stops your thinking. As you do so try closing your eyes and also listen acutely. Sense the life in your body and feel air on your skin as you breath slowly. Feel the buzz of life within you and on the outer parts of your skin.

3 Pinpoint experiences such as eating; concentrate on taste

Closing your eyes can help you detect and enhance specific experiences. If drawing be aware of holding the pencil, if drinking sense the holding of the cup. Notice complete body experience – sense with every cell as you go about your activities. Even simple tasks such as brushing your teeth: become totally immersed in the activity and slow your thinking. Pay greater attention and realisation to what you are doing.

4 Listen to a plant, tree or flower

A brilliant meditation and relaxation exercise is to simply sit with and listen to a plant, tree or flower. Pay alert attention without analysis. Sense the life in the plant – the peace – the way it grows from silence and stillness. Sense its contentment at living. Notice the colours, shapes and growth. Notice how the leaves grow in different directions without fighting each other; seeking out light and air. Imagine the roots – sense the strength and how they intertwine with the planet. Imagine also the following question – could I have made this? Marvel at its beauty!

5 Watch clouds drift and listen intently to birdsong

Another great technique for silencing the mind and becoming relaxed. Watch clouds drift, listen intently to birds singing and sense the wind.

6 Look at a close object then a distant one and alternate focus

A great eye exercise; alternating your focus. See how quickly your eyes can adjust to light, detail, sharpness and how quickly it recognises shapes and objects. Look all around rather than simply up and down; slow your gaze, drink in the surroundings and notice minute detail in objects.

7 Study your hand – explore the detail and aging!

Closely explore the detail on your hands; sense the intricate marks, scars, lines, hairs. Notice the aging, browning and wrinkles! Sense the temporary nature of your skin and body. Think back to a time when it looked smoother (assuming you are older!) Move your fingers and hands slowly and observe the fascinating way everything works and start to appreciate how incredibly complex and fortunate we are! Could you make what you are seeing any other way than through being human?

8 Smell deeply – differentiate between subtle odours

Acknowledge strong smells, light fragrances, smells coming and going. See how many you can identify. Breath slowly, deeply and “knowingly” – become aware of air.

9 Touch with eyes closed – explore textures, surfaces, shapes

A great way to explore shapes and textures – simply sense with the hands. Feel hardness, smoothness, softness, flexibility, bumpy, flat, curvy, elasticity.

10 Close eyes and feel temperature of objects with hands

Sense the coolness or heat of objects; such as the coolness of tables and ornaments.

11 Close your eyes and sense individual body parts

With eyes closed think around your body – name body parts and sense them

12 Close your eyes and identify objects solely by touch

Place objects before you or for an even better test get someone else to do it for you and see how many items you can identify simply through touch.

13 Close your eyes and try observing your pulse or blood flow

A subtle way to slow the mind and become relaxed is to try to observe your blood flow and pulse. Sense the life within you and how everything is being taken care of inside.

14 Gently pull your ears out and listen!

An incredible way to enhance your hearing is to gently pull your ears outwards – see how little you have to move them to increase your hearing ability! The skin appears to deflect sounds into your ears more. If using a telephone close the other ear and notice the improvement in clarity in the ear you are using for the call.

15 Feel the wind – really feel it with all the senses

Watch the wind, feel the wind, smell the wind, sense the wind. See how it turns grass, trees, flowers and other objects. Sense how it moves and swirls and everything is seemingly being “ordered” into place. Notice moisture in the wind. Notice temperature. See how it moves the clouds and how birds float and twist and turn in the wind. Really feel the wind with all your senses.

16 Close your eyes and pass your hands through water

Notice the strength in water, the heat or coolness, sense ripples and waves. Watch water and observe the way it moves, the way it rises and falls and calms into stillness. Observe also flotation and how we are waterproof! Remember we are 75% water! Remember to drink plenty of water!

17 Drink and focus solely on the drinking

Sense the liquid, the taste and notice the thickness or not of the fluid. Notice flavours, observe still or sparkling, hot or cold? Really taste the drink and follow it down as you drink. Be fully present on the drinking and the connection with your hands also. Notice also the aroma. Try drinking a cup of coffee with your eyes closed! (Side note & quick joke: If you ever order still water and the waiter repeats “Still Water?” say: “Yes, still Water – I haven’t changed my mind”)

18 Eat slowly and taste every mouthful; flavours, seasoning, herbs, spices

Savour every mouthful and really taste – sense the ingredients and perhaps even ponder the country of origin and the journey, the connections that made it possible to eat what you are eating. Eating rice? Picture the rice fields and the life of the grower! Notice the aromas and textures also.

19 Identify foods with your eyes closed

A great test of the palate!

20 Close eyes and brush fingers lightly over arms sensing hairs not skin

Sense the static feel, the tingling sensation, and temperature.

21 Do the same on your face and hover slowly

Sense the connection, even without touch; sense the heat and life.

22 Walk barefooted on carpets – sense each step

Sense the thickness of the carpet, any heat or coolness and notice how you can change the temperature with your feet! Become aware of how your toes and feet interact with the material.

23 Walk barefooted on grass or concrete – sense each step

Gently place each foot and really feel the entire experience.

24 Walk and be conscious of every step as you plant your feet

Wherever you walk try to be conscious of the walking, notice your feet – perhaps even count your footsteps! Try walking backwards and see the effect on your muscles and orientation. Take different routes and sense your surroundings fully as you observe your new environment.

25 Become aware of your entire body and “feel” with every cell

In whatever you do, whether you are sitting, standing, walking, running, relaxing – in fact, everything! Try to become fully aware of your body and sense the life in every cell.

26 Bonus idea!

For an incredible experience try every activity throughout your day with no thought and see how it heightens the experience!

See how brilliant you are?

Here is the list without descriptions:

How to heighten your senses

1 Close your eyes to enhance your hearing
2 Focus totally on your breath
3 Pinpoint experiences such as eating; concentrate on taste
4 Listen to a plant, tree or flower
5 Watch clouds drift and listen intently to birdsong
6 Look at a close object then a distant one and alternate focus
7 Study your hand – explore the detail and aging!
8 Smell deeply – differentiate between subtle odours
9 Touch with eyes closed – explore textures, surfaces, shapes
10 Close eyes and feel temperature of objects with hands
11 Close your eyes and sense individual body parts
12 Close your eyes and identify objects solely by touch
13 Close your eyes and try observing your pulse or blood flow
14 Gently pull your ears out and listen!
15 Feel the wind – really feel it with all the senses
16 Close your eyes and pass your hands through water
17 Drink and focus solely on the drinking
18 Eat slowly and taste every mouthful; flavours, seasoning, herbs, spices
19 Identify foods with your eyes closed
20 Close eyes and brush fingers lightly over arms sensing hairs not skin
21 Do the same on your face and hover slowly
22 Walk barefooted on carpets – sense each step
23 Walk barefooted on grass or concrete – sense each step
24 Walk and be conscious of every step as you plant your feet
25 Become aware of your entire body and “feel” with every cell
26 Bonus idea! Try every activity throughout your day with no thought and see how it heightens the experience

I hope you find these suggestions useful.

One final tip; try combining as many of these ideas as you can.

Associated themes:

Qualities of Leonardo da Vinci Mind Map

FREE 85 Page E-Book “Stop Thinking

Further reading:

How to think like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael Gelb

 

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