Mind Your Senses
We often use the term: ‘Mind your own business.’ But how about minding our own senses? If Raja Yoga is mastery over the ‘self’, then who is the ‘self’, and who or what are we supposed to be mastering?
There are many stories and poems from around the world, and they describe the body with all its senses as a kingdom to be mastered. The senses are often referred to as wild horses which need to be tamed. They run off into many different directions, and the one holding the reins has to have the strength and the expertise to guide them gently back on track.
So who should be the master? Should the rider be ruled by the horse? Surely not. The conscious being is the one who is supposed to be the master over the body, and this one is known by many names like the soul, spirit, atma, ruh.
Yet, how many times do the senses seem to have their own mind? We eat things when we don’t really need or want to eat. We continue listening to gossip when it goes against the grain. We see bad things when we know it is not beneficial for us. So who or what is leading us? Is the soul ruling the senses, or is the soul being ruled by the senses? Basically has the master lost control?
Maybe students or children are hit on the hand by their teachers or parents as punishment for stealing something. Yet, is it the hand that has to be punished or the mind that made the decision to steal? The hand by itself is just an organ, it is innocent, the hand has no mind or thinking ability. The hand was simply led by the mind as the creator of those thoughts. That is the one that needs to be corrected. But because our thoughts cannot be seen, we punish the thing which we can see, which is the hand.
It is the soul, the true master that has to take charge once again. Let us see how the senses have gone astray.
Just think, if a system of punishment like; ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ were to be applied. Imagine how much extra suffering there would be in the world. In the same way, if we were to be punished every time for having a bad vision, we would personally experience so much sorrow. If the punishment did not result in death, then our world could well be filled with many blind and toothless people!
If one does not have sight, they would be eager to regain sight to see all the beautiful things of the world. Why would they be eager to see all the ugliness? With sight we can protect ourselves. Actually all the senses are there for our enjoyment and protection. We have a choice and yet what do we do? We see the weaknesses of people, we see the 5% wrong and not the 95% right! We pollute our vision by listening to the foul talk of others. When we choose to see the beauty, both within and without, it is then that we are being the master.
The eyes can mislead us also. As we see things, we are drawn to them, both by emotion and our wallet. We may not even need it, but the eyes liked what they saw and we fall for that thing.
‘Open your eyes’ is a famous idiom which means to wake up to what is really going on. You may be surprised, but you will be much happier knowing the truth than living with the lie. Indeed, both parties will experience relief and freedom from no longer needing to practice deception. This will also literally keep your eyesight going for longer and also keep you happier.
As with the eyes, the ears help us to keep our balance and navigation. If we do not listen to the sweet music of Nature, then we will be bombarded with the bombs of waste and negative talk.
If we feel that our ears are burning what is happening? We grew up believing that if the left ear was burning then someone was saying something bad about us, and if the right ear was burning they were saying something good about us. So, which of your ears is burning?
Protect yourself. Do not listen to gossip or waste. By listening, even if we are not agreeing with it, still implies that we are interested in listening to more, and so in this way we encourage the other to go on and on and on… In the end we find we have made our mind a dustbin for the waste and rubbish of other people!
Why do we lose our hearing? Is it simply because of age? Or could it be that perhaps we lent out ears to gossip far more than we should have? Have we been listening to too much rubbish and putting into our own mind?
There is a famous expression: ‘Don’t be nosey!’ By putting our noses, that is our interest and attention, into other people’s business, we lose our honour and integrity.
The nose is also a sign of arrogance. The story of Pinocchio teaches us; do not lie, be humble and tell the truth. Arrogance makes us lie in many ways. Which is why there is another expression: ‘His nose got cut!’ Which means he was embarrassed in a bad way. Often the ego is represented as the nose – getting into places it has no right to be!
Our sense of smell can also guide or mislead us. We say: ‘This smells fishy!’ Meaning something is not right and to be careful. Or smell can break us when we are on a diet. We are drawn to the bakery or a busy kitchen even though we may not be hungry, leaving all diets to begin tomorrow as usual!
We have so many things we can eat and yet we choose to eat some of the deadliest things around. Excuse the pun on deadly! If we ingest only good pure things, we will emerge only good pure things. Meaning, whatever we take in, will also come out. Do we have a taste for life? Are we enjoying all the beautiful and wonderful things of this world? Or, are we finding this world tasteless? Why is that the case? What thoughts and feelings have we been entertaining that has made it so?
For most of us we use our hands without giving it much thought. But our hands have the power to heal or to hurt depending on our consciousness. The knife in the hands of a surgeon can help to ease our pain, but in the hands of a killer can be fatal. Touch is perhaps something we take for granted, but we know that for a child the most nourishing touch is that of a mother’s arms in a hug, that touch conveys love, nurturing and security to the child. Anything we do with a pure heart has a different kind of ‘touch’.
Perhaps, the most important and most neglected sense is our sixth sense, because it is not gross but very subtle. The senses are the tools that the soul uses to connect and experience the beauty of the world. The sixth sense is our intuition. That inner sense that helps to guide us in life, the sense that can feel truth, a kind of deep inner knowing which goes beyond the limitations of the five senses. Our sixth sense can see the many possibilities for happiness that are available to us in life. This is the sense we can always trust.
It’s Time… to make sense of our own world by using all the senses in the right way. Learn to trust your sixth sense, it is the wisest part of us.
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK