Tuning in to Our Sixth Sense
I tend to have vivid dreams. I dream in color, and I remember many details once awake. Occasionally, when a dream feels profound, I write it down in my dream journal. There is one recurring element that weaves through many of my dreams. Invariably, I am going somewhere, either walking or driving, and I have the sensation that I cannot open my eyes. It is as if my eyes are so heavy and tired, I can’t even hold them open with my fingers. In these dreams, I’m focused on this handicap of not being able to open my eyes. I’m not overly frightened, just frustrated. Somehow, I know what is around me but I am aware I cannot use my eyes to see. The result is that I usually wake myself up. This particular repetitive dream has me stumped. I have not consulted a dream expert, but my hunch is it has something to do with relying too much on my physical vision rather than my intuitive vision. Spikenard, the ancient sacred anointing essence, shed some light on this subject:
You rely very much on your senses as you know them. You are encouraged to see with your ears, hear with your eyes, feel with your ears and eyes, see with your heart, and so on. And you are ready to go deeper with this. The world’s sacred texts encourage releasing any attachment to your senses and that is what prefaces becoming more intuitive and less reliant on your senses. Re-read this daily as your reminder. From this place of non-attachment, you will find you judge less and you become more compassionate.
Our senses are part of our human experience. On one hand, they are very useful when we are taking in our surrounding environment. On the other hand, we may become overly reliant on our senses. I had a student in my preschool classroom who was visually impaired. She was considered legally blind as she had no vision in front of her and she had very little peripheral vision. At the request of her mom, I welcomed her into our classroom even though I wasn’t a certified Special Ed teacher. This experience taught me a lot about how we can become dependent on one particular sense, in this case, vision. As her teacher, I had to make sure I always kept the classroom safe. This meant I could no longer rearrange the furniture or bring something new into the classroom without first taking Meghan by the hand and showing her the new item by having her touch and feel it slowly, imprinting it in her memory. She also taught me to be more in tune to my other senses, especially hearing and touch. After playing in the tactile area, where I had put out salt in a shallow box for the children to practice writing their name, Meghan came up to me and insisted I touch her hands. She was delighted at how soft they were after playing in the salt.
Our senses serve to guide us when we’re making decisions. What would happen if we intentionally chose not to use them? In some of the Eastern traditions, we are taught to let go of attachment to our senses (for instance, sounds outside of our space that may distract us from our meditation or seeing food on commercials and thinking we need to eat). The practice is to notice them but not allow our thoughts to attach to them.
One beneficial practice is to use one of your senses that doesn’t automatically engage in a situation. Find your special spot in nature, close your eyes and use your sense of sound to “see” your surroundings. What comes to your awareness first? Cover your ears or put your earbuds in and watch others around you. Can you sense what they might be saying or feeling without hearing their tone? These practices can help you to open up the pathway to your own intuition. Our intuition is always there. We simply need to tune into it. By the way, have you ever tried playing in salt with your hands? Try it!
"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair." Kahlil Gibran