Tag Archives: senses

missing-the-trainWhat we hear, see, feel and intuit from our experience is not perceived in the same way for each of us. For some of us tangible experiences provide the most clarity. For others, what is heard is more important. We all perceive in what we might call different modes. There are four of them. Each of them has a “format” of qualities that allow us to relate to others more effectively either through our senses, feelings, thoughts or intuition. When we relate to another person in the same mode the connection between us is dynamic and catalyzing in terms of how we perceive and understand. When it’s not and as the other person is speaking, we’re left with guessing as to their meaning as if we’ve been left standing on the platform while the train just whizzes by. For many people recognition of this aspect in our interactions is most often well below our threshold of awareness. Yet, all we can say is that we somehow “connect” with them more easily and deeply than anyone else. For others where we don’t “connect” we find ourselves saying that we simply had no idea what they were trying to say.

radio-stationWorking with modes is like tuning into a radio station. There are sometimes when we’re locked on to the frequency and other times it seems that we’ve just drifted into static. It could be said that each mode is a type of “headspace” unto itself requiring us to tune into the other person’s wavelength if we are to effectively understand or “grok” them. (grok is a term used in the book Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein meaning to fully comprehend meaning on all levels and in all modes).

ListeningModes are important in that for some relationships the rapport is extremely strained and trying. For others it is fluid and easy. It’s easy to understand how the majority of our rapport in relationships is largely dependent on the degree to which each of us are able to allow ourselves to listen to each other separately from our own agendas and issues. But in recognizing our own expressions and those of our partners as coming through different modes, a higher or subtler form of listening is necessary. Its requirement is that personal agendas most be either worked through or set aside in order to navigate perceptively in differing modal interchanges. In the same way that being in a noisy room will drown out the words of a whispering companion, having an agenda will overpower our awareness through distraction to the point where we become unable to perceive gentler undercurrents. Lack of this capacity often can make or break our ability to communicate deeply and effectively beyond the simple words of what is being expressed. We might say that this is one of the methods of being able to “read between the lines” but is dimensionally different in that the process involves harmonizing with the perceptual undercurrent of our partner.

The modes I speak of were first publicized through the work of Carl Gustav Jung. For the sake of clarity and brevity I will paraphrase and simplify much of what I’ve learned. Not to do so would tie our brains in knots, especially, if we’re unfamiliar with his perspectives and work.

Jungian TypesOf the four modes through which we express and perceive, senses, feeling, thought and intuition, each has its own particular “flavor” of expressing and perceiving. So we’ll be on the same page when I say expression, I’m referring how we project energy and information. When I say perceive, I will simply mean how we receive, transmute and customize that energy and information so it resonates with what we have already learned, experienced and currently understand. Another way of saying this is our perception and projections are a function of the filters operating in our personal interchanges, namely, through our modes. As an example, we’ve been told that rose colored glasses can totally change how we perceive someone or something. We can comprehend more fully what I say simply by observing how we feel when we look through sunglasses of differing colors. We actually “feel” what we’re looking at differently. Let’s look at the modes and how they filter what we perceive and project.

Sense Receptive or Expressed - When our physical senses are the primary baseline through which we receive and assess our world, we tend to perceive and think of our experiences and circumstances in terms of what we believe to be tangible and, therefore, practical. We tend to be in the moment along with the feeling mode. One might say that, “If I can see it, feel it, taste it and touch it or smell it, it’s real enough for me.” We find our truth in the world through our senses. We are the scientists of the world, the statisticians, the engineers and any of those of us who require “proof” in the form of physical and tangible evidence to gain our belief and support in who we are and what we do. Since we operate based on sense verification, we tend to wait for the world to provide that to us before we will even consider investing ourselves. As a result of this we tend to be more cautious and premeditative than other modes in all that we do and say.

Feeling Receptive or Expressed - When our feelings are the receptive or driving force we might not even “go there” if what we feel doesn’t somehow mesh with what we feel or what might be assumed to be an uncomfortable or displeasing force. Feeling is an intangible, elusive, fluid and empathic and an involuntary movement within us. We are the artists, musicians, performers, activists, social workers, humanitarians and any career that takes our life direction and callings from an internal feeling. Thought may be involved if only to clarify but is often bypassed due to the intensity of the feeling or occurs after the wave has passed.

Like in the sensing mode, we perceive in the moment but often “percolate” our feelings until they surface in our awareness in a way that “feels right” for our comprehension or “grokking.” The dominating catalyst in our assessing rests in our recognition and alignment of and with the movement or current of what we’re feeling. Comparing with elicited memories gives us a language to use in order to convey to others what we feel in terms of prior events and circumstances. Our perceiving and recognizing a change of flow is our primary consideration in our process for discrimination and the memories simply provide reference points to convey a comprehended meaning. When we assess, the process becomes all absorbing to the exclusion of all else. Those of us who use other modes can gain a vague understanding of a feeling person’s process through descriptive words such as penetrating, instinctual, psychically sensitive, suspicious, permeable, textured and enveloping.

Thought Receptive or Expressed - When our thinking is the primary mover, all that is perceived is, first, converted to language, and then applied to a search for worldly intellectual and recognizable patterns with which we can align, validate and then direct our individual experiences and actions. We are the philosophers, writers, educators (systemic), theorists, mathematicians and intellectuals of the world. We are emotionally detached and feelings are considered irrational and are, essentially, ignored. Our primary operative space rests in abstraction gained through a process of distillation. Our actions are almost never a function of being in the moment and every action taken or anticipated is structured and planned before ever being acted on. Any choice becomes an arduous process involving weighing, measuring and assessing experience for its potential to align with the most advantageously known format or structure. Words that best describe us are: abstract, rational, mental, pre-emptive, theoretical, comparative, separative, conceptual, timed, planned, strategized and logical.

Intuition Receptive or Expressed - When intuition is the primary mover, we live more in the moment than any other mode. Thought is rarely part of the process. We may or may not actually hear you speaking. As you do we receive flashes of you or someone like you in complete scenarios much like multidimensional photographs but straddling the barriers between past, present and future. We receive everything as a complete multidimensional “picture” and then plunge into fleshing out what we’ve seen. Like a dream, linear explanations are often useless as they lose the depth of the experience as we attempt to squeeze our multidimensional flash into a linear timeline. When we act, we go from receiving the intuitive flash directly into activity attempting to create or manifest the complete “picture” of what we’ve seen in the flash. We are the composers, architects, psychoanalysts, inventors, quantum physicists, chefs and designers. Words that describe us are experiential, impulsive, active, immersive, self-trusting, conceptually inclusive, comprehensive and aligning rather than directive.

What dreams may come-2Essentially, sense and thought based rapports are tangible formats and feeling and intuitive are intangible. This accounts for which of them are in the moment and which are time based; which are timeless and which are time constrained. When we mix formats, not only are the modes out of sync but the time formats they filter through are also. For example, we’ve all heard the comic routines about the logical husband and the emotionally based wife. One is tangibly based, the other is intangibly based. Is it really any wonder why it is so difficult for them to understand each other? Rational and irrational are exchanged in comments to and about each other as if one or the other is inferior. But the truth is, both are viable but through different kinds of reception and projection. This causes massive problems in what is understood and what is assumed about each other’s intentions and perceptions. What one expects of the other, the other has no clue as to what is meant and vice versa.

BootiesUnfortunately, our culture has had a predilection toward assuming that the modal difference is present due to gender determination. Over the years, this expectation has been changing and the lines between have been blurring our ability to know what to expect from either sex, especially, with the growing influence of unisex “standards.” This change has been forcing us to look deeper than at our gender and surface appearances, slowly evolving us toward becoming a lot more sensitive to the subtleties of our differences and similarities. Of course there are still older “holdouts” left whose personal security lies based in their traditional assumptions about the sexes perpetuating the colloquial “battle of the sexes.” But as the older generations die off, the younger generations, who have not been as strongly indoctrinated in the older assumptions, will move quickly past the old prejudices and insecurities and focus more on the subtler similarities and differences in individual communicative rapports.

My-Way or highwayThe way to accelerate and facilitate our own ability to sensitize ourselves to and recognize these subtle similarities and differences is to first, uncover and work at moving past the agendas generated by our own personal insecurities. This will remove the loud voices in the room so we can hear the whispers. And then second, listen for the type of syntax used to describe how others experience us and their world. Sense and thought based personalities will describe their world in terms of reality, proof and what they can physically sense or conceptualize. Feeling and intuition based personalities will describe their worlds in terms that will seem fluid, irrational and intangible. Our key to perceiving the difference is hearing words such as, “I hear or understand what you’re saying” or “I feel the difference.” Listen carefully. The words chosen to describe their experience will tell you everything you need to know about your relationship rapport and how to tune into the individual modes of others. Good luck! It’s an interesting and challenging exercise in paying attention.

Who-am-I-3This may seem like a very simple question. It’s something that we as a race have asked ourselves as far back as we have been able to remember. But when most of us ask this question we go no further back than our own memory. That can include our memory of what we learned in history, what we’ve read, what we’ve been told by others, what we have personally experienced and what input we have processed on our time on this earth. The key word that provides us the best clue to how we identify ourselves is input.

With all of the technology that we’ve experienced we naturally hear the word input and think of computers, recorders, cameras, microphones, telephones; all of the gadgets that create a record or memory of what we or someone else has experienced. But all these gadgets simply imitate a capacity that we all share. That capacity is the use of our senses. Our senses depend on input. Our senses depend on stimulus (new information) that we can compare to what we already know, what we’ve committed to memory, what is different from what we already know or feel at the moment. We depend on input to define ourselves.

Selfie-Mona LisaWhen we are asked, “Who are you?” our answers are based on input we have received about ourselves from our surrounding world. We define ourselves by how the world sees us and how we see ourselves as participating in that world. To begin with we say our name. Did you choose your own name? No. Your parents gave that to you based on the input they perceived about you. Are you your job? No. You define yourself based on input that you and others perceive about what you do. Are you your family? No. Who you are is based on the input that you and others perceive about the people you live with and, most likely, work at supporting. The point I’m making is that sense input produces what is accepted as being true about you or not through your senses and those of others. It’s a compilation of and comparison to what you are and aren’t as compared to your surrounding world. So, what would happen to how you perceive who you are if we slowly removed those senses on by one? How, then, would you define yourself to yourself and others? Let’s see…

Smell-orangutansSince smell and taste are very closely related, let’s remove those together. Do you like a good steak? How would you know if all you could sense about it was the texture or what it feels like as you put it into your mouth? There would probably be very little difference between that and chicken, or turkey. Do you like ice cream? Yogurt? The texture of both are very similar. The only difference you’d recognize would be the color and that ice cream would feel much colder. What about flowers? You no longer can smell them. The only difference would be how they looked and how they felt (fragile, strong, thorny, tall short, etc.) With no smell and no taste, your ability to see food and flowers and feel their texture and temperature would be the only way that you could tell them apart. You, then, would have to lean much more heavily into the input available from your other senses of sight, tactile feeling and hearing. To wit, it is said that when someone goes blind the acuity of their remaining senses multiplies. Let’s remove another sensual input.

The kiss-RodanLet’s remove your tactile input. How would sex feel if you had no sense of touch? No taste? No smell? You might become aroused by what you could see or hear, but, then how could you feel the tactile pleasure of caressing? Warmth? Texture? Friction? Let’s go one further. How would you now identify your sexual experience? In pictures? In sounds? Your only input is your sight, hearing and of course your memory of what you’ve experienced before. With the loss of touch, taste and smell what has happened to the intensity of your experience? What has happened to the depth of your experience? How will you now describe it and your participation to others? How do you now define yourself in terms of sex and your experience with it? Your loss of three senses has monumentally diminished your experience with sex, food, texture, warmth, cold. What now remains to commit to memory? Let’s remove one more sense.

Hearing-Dog-1Sound has now left your repertoire. Can you hear music? Birds chirping, wind rustling leaves, the sighs of your lover during sex? What is now left to commit to memory to compare with what you’re already experienced? Only what you can see.

I’ve left the most impactful sense for last; sight. In today’s world we receive the largest volume of our sensual input through our sight. We learn things creating input watching television, our computer. We move about finding our direction through our house, the supermarket. We recognize people. We recognize ourselves in the mirror. We recognize the difference between night and day. We write Eye-heart-2down shopping lists of things to remember. We know when to stop filling a glass. We know when we come too close to the edge of a cliff. We see the steps we must traverse to go up or down in our houses. We can see when it’s safe to cross the street in traffic. Our last sense input is gone. How now can we experience the world? What have we left to identify ourselves with? Only our memory.

exhaustion-childBut, for most people, when the external input is turned off and we are so exhausted from following the convolutions and gymnastics of our conscious mind, it is our cue to sleep. When this occurs, most of us simply vacate bodily awareness and withdraw from our worldly participation. Removing any attention we may have on our body allows it the time and the space to disengage from all the resistances and polarities our conscious mind has constructed in dealing with daily events and the resulting stress it had deposited in our muscles and nervous system. In letting go of our body and mind it allows us to return to that unified non-polarized place we lived in before we were born in order to integrate our newest day’s activities into our “larger self” and clarify any changes in direction needed to further enhance our experience when we return to Larger self-1our physical world. When we are fully recharged and begin to reconnect with our body and mind it is then that we begin to dream. This is where the antics of our mind begin to negotiate with the timeless unified state we were just visiting and produce, sometimes, enlightening insights and sometimes, confusing timing and irrational scenarios that puzzle the conscious mind. When we have fully awakened, our unified awareness has totally shifted into our polarized perspective ready to participate in the physical world making choices and creating new resistance. This process repeats itself every night. If we are deprived of our REM sleep, that is, our opportunity to negotiate what we’ve integrated about being between “here” and “there” with our newest experiences, we eventually lose our mental thread and perceptual grounding: we lose our connection to “reality.” We all know that sleep deprivation makes most of us “loopy.”

SucubusHowever, the momentum of our conscious mind is sometimes so strongly connected to where we’ve been, or what we are going through, that we are unable to totally let go of our connection to our bodies resulting in the type of insomnia where we’re half in sleep and half out and dreaming. So now, with no external input the mind goes crazy dredging up enough material from our memory of past experiences to fill our awareness and “solve” what it is that we are distressed and tense about. When we finally awaken we are only partially recharged and working on only five cylinders for the rest of the day.

The point I’m making here is that the mind itself can be considered a sense. Because it contains the total memory of our past experiences and conjurations of possible outcomes in the future, it too is part of the polarization process controlling the “on” or “off” states (e.g., taste or don’t taste) of what we sense. Our senses and mind must both be released in order that we are able Energized-1to fully discharge enough of the resistance we have built and accumulated daily that we may be able to let go and vacate back into our unified essence to regroup. We can compare our regrouping to a computer that we would reboot clearing its memory and cache in order to have enough RAM to perform new tasks when turned back on again.

Desensitization tank-1It’s also worthy to note that back in the 60s the rage in colleges was to climb into desensitization tanks that would “deaden” the senses enough so that all that remained was our conscious mind. Some people loved the experience. Others became terrified at being “alone” with themselves. There is very little difference between this and the substances we currently use to either heighten or deaden our senses today like the difference between what alcohol does and what barbiturates do. Some want to escape the senses. Others want to be overwhelmed by them so they feel nothing else. Either way, it’s an escape from facing ourselves and what we feel.

So where does this leave us in terms of who we are? We know that when the senses are gone or turned off our mind replaces them with the memory of what we’ve already sensed or anticipated sensing. In recognizing this we know that we aren’t our senses. We also can say that when the physical senses are turned off, the mind goes into overdrive attempting to fill the perceptual gap. As the mind increases in speed, there eventually comes appoint where our Catch the trainability to make sense of it can no longer keep up with the speed and we are thrown free like a child from an accelerating merry go round and end up in the sidelines watching it spin. This tells us that we also aren’t our minds either, yet, we do have a mind just like we have senses. This means that when we physically die, what we can recognize, our senses and mind, are NOT all there is.

So what’s left to define? Feelings and intuition? These are continuous and involuntary types of energy that arise within us. They were present within us before we came here. But even they occur within us. So who or what are they within? So who or what is us? You? I? Without being separate from what we are attempting to define or discriminate, we can’t answer the question. It’s our belief in separation that creates the question. If there is no separation, there is no question. So now we must ask, “Who or what is it that we are asking this of?”