May 24, 2020

Information comes to us via the sense organs. Sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. The sensory gates are our eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin. In a way, what we allow in, becomes part of who are.

Putting this very simply, imagine seeing a murder scene. How would it make you feel? Those images enter, land upon your visual cortex in the brain and become processed by the processing centres which are linked with the feeling centres. People who work in crime have to develop distance and objectivity in order to function in their field. Even the toughest and thickest skin detective needs to have periodic psychological check ups and debriefing in order to process some of the horrific things that they see.

Every sense input can have a similar effect. Music that is distasteful makes us feel irritable. Foul smells can make us feel viscerally unwell. Horrible tastes can do the same. And improper touch, such as forcible or unwanted physical touch to children in paedophilia or in rape victims can leave permanent scars for life. The five sensory gates are very important and must be protected, nurtured and guarded.

In these days of social media, we are bombarded by a barrage of sensory information. It is important that we allow only that which is positive and supportive into our lives. Of course we need to know what is happening in the wider world and we don’t want to wrap ourselves in an illusory fluffy blanket, but at the same time, it is important to remember we have a choice what we allow in.

Sometimes it is important to exercise that choice as well. During the corona period, I reviewed some of the inputs that I allow into my life. Those things that were not in alignment with my life view I removed. Facebook “friends”; Whats app chats; Instagram feeds…

I am of the belief that we must live gently on this planet as we are visitors and not the owners. As far as practical, we must reduce our impact on planet earth. We can not live with an arrogance that nothing can happen to us. Corona virus has been a reminder to humanity about this. And all we need to do is look back in history and their are countless civilisations that have fallen. Mayan, Angkor, and Petra are some examples.

Have a look at your own lives and see how you can improve the nature of your sensory inputs. Through sight, aim to beautify your immediate surroundings. A pot plant on your desk. A motivational quote on your wall. Seeing beauty in others. Through sound, allow pleasing sounds to be around you. In many ways, reducing unnecessary sounds is important. There is no need for constant background radio, podcasts, TV all happening at the same time. Get into nature and hear her sounds. Use essential oils or incense to create a pleasant fragrance in your space. There is a whole science dedicated to manipulating buyer behaviour by having certain fragrances in retail stores! Smell is a powerful sense. Pheromones are the subtle essence of the smell that you emit. Taste. Let your food be fresh, healthy, unprocessed and diverse. Our food should be flavoursome and pleasing and should include a combination of all the tastes and textures. And finally touch. Sadly with corona virus we are now practicing physical distancing such that shaking hands is prohibited. But for those within our bubble, a hug, a touch, a cuddle is so important. In the Indian system of medicine (Ayurveda), it is recommended that we do “self massage” on a regular basis.

From an immunity perspective, remember that these gates are also potential entry points for pathogens, including viruses like corona. You can strengthen them and fortify them. Ayurveda recommends application of some oil or ghee to inside the nostrils. This acts as a barrier. Yoga recommends cleaning the nasal passages with salt water (jala neti). Gargling with salt water and “oil pulling” work on the mouth and oral cavity.

You be the driver and take control of your life. You don’t need to let everything in without filter. You have choice over the people, the sensory inputs, the social groups, and the social media that you let in. Remember, you don’t have to be friends with everyone! Now is a good time to take stock.

In Health and Wellness