We started this series about the senses with the five traditional senses. Then, we explored Rudolf Steiners 12 senses adding a magnetic sense in the last article. Today we will look at a few other senses we relate to daily without thinking of them as senses.
The most obvious are the senses of thirst and hunger. They make sure we get what we need to stay alive. These senses can be influenced in many ways.
If you look at people drinking or eating you might get thirsty or hungry. Marketing take this into account. You might also react with disgust to things others are eating or drinking. So you do not only feel thirst and hunger because you need something, it can also be a desire for pleasure.
The words thirst and hunger are used to represent other things than food too.
We are fed on many levels and you can have a thirst or hunger for travelling, learning, experiencing, relating, time off etc.
These desires can be difficult to realize or you might want to reduce them if they are taking control of your life or are unhealthy.
Alcoholics feels a thirst or craving that slowly destroys them.
Too little or too much is often an issue with desires. To indulge, often has a bad after- taste, while abstaining, gives a sweet after taste. This is a nice mechanism that helps us adjusts.
If you fast regularly, you will know that both the sense of thirst and hunger can disappear even if you have not eaten for many days. When you start eating again, your senses of taste and smell are so acute or cleaned out that almost any meal is like a delicious feast, a fireworks of tastes.
As with hunger your ability to fast is much broader than just a matter of food. Your ability to control your desires and needs can influence many of your senses, it can give you control and ability to sustain pain and suffering.
The ability to control, exercise your will, to abstain and be ascetic, forces you to relate to your inner core, forces you to face yourself and stand independent of the external world. Most people are in a constant search for external stimuli or satisfaction; always moving away from themselves.
These issues are also reflected in indulgence, system overload or the after effects of greed. The sense of too much is also experienced with a full bladder or a full rectum.
If you have cultivated your desires, you can feel the need to eat more healthy, to eat less or to drop certain foods and even feel a need to fast. If you indulge you will gradually become aware, getting stuck is rather a feeble will power that takes time to make strong.
Also, when the bladder is full you can speak of a will. Some people have to run as soon as they feel the least urge, others can go to bed with a full bladder, have a good sleep and wake up next morning remembering they needed to urinate.
In many traditions, mastering yourself take advantage of these senses, needs, desires, or cravings and reduce them. To learn to regulate, reduce or abstain strengthens your will. Abstaining from anything that controls you is a good thing. Today it could as well be the smartphone or Facebook that you need to show yourself you can be without.
By dropping sugar, Coca Cola, Facebook, chocolate, coffee or any other things you crave or think you need to have will surprise you with how good you can feel, but also how the craving can actually disappear. The strengthened will creates a feeling of freedom and inner power, an increased autonomy.
Another sense we have not mentioned is the sense of danger, poison or that food is unhealthy. Certain colors, shapes, smell and sounds will immediately be understood as signs of danger. Colors, smell or taste of food and drink, or just how it looks like can also make you sceptic or create a strong aversion. Some people vomit just by the sight of things. As with the above senses this can also be modified with gradual exposure, but is a healthy sense that you have acquired through generations of experience, stored in the collective unconscious.
The senses can also create attraction, connection, disgusts, fear or scepticism towards others. Some people you might feel you need to protect yourself from, others feels like an inspiration of joy. The strongest sense in the inter-human sphere is the sense of love. You sense a particular flow of joy a sense of fulfilment when you are in love even if it is not reciprocal. You might be in a relationship and not feel love or you might love someone you are not in a relationship with, but anyway you sense that feeling of love.
This sense of a special connection can also be there in the family or within a group of people. You can sense a connection or belonging that transcends the ego. It can be with a good friend a grandfather or mother and sometimes you feel this connection with a guide, coach or therapist. You sense a mutual understanding, a mutual sphere or a sense of being in tune and understanding beyond the words or expressions between you.
Your ability to adjust to the common good, your ability to let your own needs and desires, that we covered in the beginning of this article, and make a priority on what profits the group is the prerequisite to sense the group.
If you are a slave of your greed, or always think what is in it for me, then you do not have that inner silence that can make you hear the need of the group.
Your sense of holonity is your sense of belonging to a bigger whole, a bigger holon, like your organs acting for the whole body, the common good, you can also act for human kind. You can sense the state of your group and even human kind. This sense of holonity or how much you are in harmony with a bigger group is one of the most subtle and most important senses for our mastering and spiritual growth.