You Can Increase Mindfulness Through Your Senses
Many Ecopsychologists believe that we evolved using more of our senses then we use today, but, we can still access all our sensible ability
Mindfulness can increase through opening up more of your highly evolved senses. Immersion in healing nature can help you access this awareness.
We may just do yoga, gym work or meditation in silence, but doing so allows the mind to overload (especially at first) with mental chatter. We often do not just open our senses to the moment and all it’s sensual gifts.
This also happens in our daily lives, and leads us to misinterpret incoming data.
We often translate abstract information, usually in writing, but verbally as well. An example of this is sizes of clothing. If the label indicates size nine, but our body tells us it is a size eleven, we will often believe the label rather than our own sense of proportion. We will buy the article believing it is a size nine, although the manufacturer merely wants us to think it is a size nine. If it is too big, we seem surprised, but often pleased.
(Please note: when Ecopsychologists use the word sense, they often include many senses beyond the mere five most people are familiar with: sight, sound, touch, taste and scent.) A sense of proportion, proprioception, and mindfulness of one’s thoughts — an intuitive sense — are just a few included for those people who endeavor to utilize as many senses as possible.
Often, modern lives display disconnection from nature, and a distracted detachment from a sustaining environment. The Mindful Interactive Natural Development Course, (M.I.N.D) investigated whether participants engaging presence through senses with the Natural System Thinking Process, (NSTP) may increase awareness, well-being, and productivity. Participants in a six-week course to evaluate mindfulness were tested on their awareness while acknowledging senses in a natural setting. Many mindfulness courses practice indoors and center on inner-thoughts. This project sought to actively engage senses to mental presence beyond the internal mind.
Abstraction, words and language present an idea, such as the words “star” or “fruit,” and a photo of starfruit will elicit those words. But an actual sensual immersion with starfruit evokes scent, taste, smell, firmness, color, memory, sound (such as birds in the starfruit tree) shape awareness and more.
Findings of the study show that many people who do gardening are just as dependent upon information through abstract delivery, language, as they are through processing information through more than forty senses.
This awareness was tweaked over time for participants to hear birds, wind, and buzzing insects without as much distraction of inner mental murmur. One implication is that comprehending an abstract idea such as “money” or “border” in comparison to reality as experienced by the senses, offers much more opportunity for people to be encouraged, comprehending, aware of networking systems (nature) and the truth about sustainability of life.
This project examined gardeners who actively focused attention upon senses beyond the commonly acknowledged five senses of sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. M.I.N.D course participants sought natural attractions during outdoor activities, as per the Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP) as presented by Dr. Michael Cohen. Mindfulness was measured by the Mindful Awareness Attention Scale (MAAS), in pre-course and post-course intake. Another inventory designed by the researcher to measure Present Level Of Mindfulness (PLOM) was applied.
The over all result, (as in almost always the case in nature immersion studies) was better intake, awareness and reported well-being. Tuning into our senses opens a large array of pathways for sound, silence, reflection, color, scents and more, especially around fragrant gardens and natural settings.
Language helps us navigate the world we invented, but senses allow us to also navigate the world as a biosphere that sustains us. Your takeaway is simple, when you stop and smell the roses, with appreciation of color, shape, scent and more, the path is more accessible, pleasant and less stressful.