Observance Imaginate

Build observation skills – Supercharge your imagination

Observing using more than 5 senses

Observing using all of your senses

Our senses are doorways to our world. They are what we use to observe and perceive reality and make decisions, judgements and connections. They’re how we recognise our loved ones, communities and environments. They’re how we perceive patterns, changes and flow. Without them we would go hungry, be unable to communicate and be totally unaware of anything around us, or even of our own bodies. We would even be unaware of time. We would be utterly insignificant and lonely. Thankfully life’s not like this.

Hacking in to our senses

testtubeplus-0031-could-you-hack-your-brain-to-have-unlimited-senses-large-thumbOur bodies are extremely complex sensory instruments feeding our minds with billions of elements of data, helping us to make sense of the world, and most of this happens without us even being consciously aware of it.

But you can hack into these senses. You can become consciously aware of them and the plethora of data that streams in through each one individually. You can sharpen your mind’s perception of this data and learn to see the world from entirely different perspectives. With this ability to observe from so many different angles, you can learn to excel at the important bits of life; deduction, decision making, building connections, leading, advising, consulting, caring, empathising, treating, fixing, building, making … and the list goes on.
You can become an observer, an imagineer and a creator.

So let’s dive in and have a look.

Your senses

k6vmdnl7How many senses do you think you have?
Five, right?
Aristotle is the guy responsible for the recognition of the five senses. Sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. And good on him for that, but what about pain, balance, hunger, time, etc.
Actually most researchers agree on around 21 or so.

I’d like to take you on a flyover of that sensory world and show you how to access and sharpen these senses to enhance and sharpen your world view.

To start with here’s a list of 18 different senses that you’ll probably relate to immediately. I’ll give definitions of the more complex ones.

  1. Sight
  2. Sound
  3. Smell
  4. Taste
  5. Touch
  6. Pressure
  7. Stretch – These are found in such places as the lungs, bladder, stomach, and the gastrointestinal tract. A type of stretch receptor, that senses dilation of blood vessels, is also often involved in headaches.
  8. Tension – Tension sensors are found in such places as your muscles and allow the brain the ability to monitor muscle tension.
  9. Itch
  10. Nociception – In a word, pain. This was once thought to simply be the result of overloading other senses, such as “touch”, but this has been found not to be the case and instead, it is its own unique sensory system. There are three distinct types of pain receptors: cutaneous (skin), somatic (bones and joints), and visceral (body organs).
  11. Thermoception – Ability to sense heat and cold.
  12. Proprioception – This sense gives you the ability to tell where your body parts are, relative to other body parts, such as when you scratch an itch on your foot, but never once look at your foot to see where your hand is relative to your foot.
  13. Equilibrioception – The sense that allows you to keep your balance and sense body movement in terms of acceleration and directional changes. This sense also allows for perceiving gravity. The sensory system for this is found in your inner ears and is called the vestibular labyrinthine system. Anyone who’s ever had this sense go out on them on occasion knows how important this is. When it’s not working or malfunctioning, you literally can’t tell up from down and moving from one location to another without aid is nearly impossible.
  14. Chemoreception – these sensors trigger an area of the medulla in the brain that is involved in detecting blood borne hormones and drugs. It also is involved in the vomiting reflex.
  15. Thirst
  16. Hunger
  17. Magnetoreception – the ability to detect magnetic fields, which is principally useful in providing a sense of direction when detecting the Earth’s magnetic field. Unlike most birds, humans do not have a strong magnetoreception, however, experiments have demonstrated that we do tend to have some sense of magnetic fields. The mechanism for this is not completely understood; it is theorized that this has something to do with deposits of ferric iron in our noses. This would make sense if that is correct as humans who are given magnetic implants have been shown to have a much stronger magnetoreception than humans without.
  18. Time

(Hiskey – Sourced from here)

To practice observance we typically think of using our sense of sight, but with this amazing arsenal of senses constantly pouring data into our minds we can observe in much more detail and from so many different perspectives. Even though some senses are more dominant than others, and some we barely use consciously at all, we are a walking sensing machine far more advanced than any fancy military or surveillance system devised to this day.

How to hack into your senses

How do we hack into these other, less dominant senses? How can we sharpen them and become a true observer?
Although these less dominant senses are most often used subconsciously, they are actually part of our ‘Somatic Nervous System’, meaning we have awareness of them and control over them. Sensing makes up half of our ‘Somatic Nervous System’ and uses what we call ‘Afferent’ nerves. The other half uses ‘Efferent’ nerves which are used to control muscles. “The a- of afferent and the e- of efferent correspond to the prefixes ad- (to, toward) and ex- (out of).” (Wikipedia)

So hacking into these senses is preprogrammed into us already. We just need to work on it regularly, shifting our awareness into each sense individually and practicing the skill of keeping it there.

As with any muscle, ability or skill, you will only increase your observance skills by putting in the hard yards. It’s like a martial art in so many ways. You learn how to do a roundhouse kick effectively after a couple of months but to become good at it, it takes a couple of years. Then to become formidable, a true expert, you’ll be at it for many more years. It’s the same with observance. The more you do it, and really challenge yourself with it, the better you will become. This is great discipline and affects every aspect of your life in very positive ways.

The first practical thing I do to sharpen these other senses is to force myself to use other senses to observe my surroundings.

894-47For example, when I’m walking down the street, I use my eyes to glance occasionally at where I’m going, then spend the rest of my sight on absorbing my surroundings. You don’t notice this much, I keep it pretty subtle, but If you were to watch me carefully you’d see my eyes going all over the place. To aid with this, I use my hearing to sense what’s around, where it is and how far away it is. I find that I usually don’t have to look at most things to recognise them and navigate using them. Recognition of the acoustic space using hearing to navigate and sense what’s around me and what kind of space I’m in is one of my favourite ways to view to world. I also use proprioception to sense where my body parts are in relation to the footpath, feeling it’s inconsistencies through the relative position of my feet to the rest of my body as I walk along. Sensing using pressure recognition under your extremely sensitive feet is one of the most amazing senses you’ll experience when you tap into it. A lot is lost through shoes but it’s still there, like the princess and the pea. And there are more.

You already use these senses, you just have to shift your focus and become fully aware of them.

Freeing up your sight for simple enjoyment of your surroundings or just being more present at any given point in time is a more efficient and fulfilling way of living. With all the visual stimuli that we’re bombarded with every day we’ve become accustomed to cluttering all of our sensations in through mostly our sight and secondarily our hearing. Doesn’t it make sense to start using the other less dominant senses to experience life and become excellent at observing reality.

The second practical tip is about taking on observance is doing it as a daily practice.

everyday1I’ve outlined in a previous article a simple and very practical 12 step process to observing effectively as a daily practice. This can be used with any of the senses or even a few at a time.
Go on back over there and skim over that orange section again but do it with a particular sense in mind that you’d like to work on. Maybe proprioception, which is the ability to sense where your different body parts are in relation to each other. Then go over it again with a different sense again.

There are many benefits of having a daily practice not least of which is that you get better at what you practice. But the best result of practicing daily is that is becomes part of your life. It becomes a part of who you are.
Yo don’t refer to Yo-Yo Ma as some guy who plays the cello; He’s a Cellist.
You don’t say Serena Williams is a woman who sometimes hits a ball around; She’s a champion Tennis player.
You don’t say Sherlock Holmes is a guy who figures things out; He’s a Detective.
The common denominator – Daily practice.


supernerdsuperpower_largewideI was talking with my daughter Jayde and my wife, Silvana today about superpowers. Yeah, that’s right. Superpowers. We were coming up with the most useless superpowers possible, but useless aside, it made me think of these incredible senses we already possess. They’re already like superpowers. We have incredible observing ability using any combination of these senses, but I want to put this out to you:

If you could have another sense (a superpower sense) to observe the world in a new and incredible way, what would it be?


4 comments on “Observing using more than 5 senses

  1. Gwen Nossiter
    May 1, 2016

    The ability to perceive truth or untruth

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Happy Walk
    May 15, 2016

    “My super power would be seeing in rainbow” I think I remember Sil saying this once!
    It is interesting that many asperger autistics have hypersensory problems. It helps living with this when I think of it as a super power. Gut feelings makes living close to Nature easy as I have constant feed of information coming in and when I adjust to my environment this feed helps me make

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Can you ever be consciously aware of the present? Well … nope | Observance Imaginate

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This entry was posted on May 1, 2016 by in Observance and tagged , , , .

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