“Open all of your senses, and just rest as this openness. And wherever it takes you, say Yes.” ~ Adyashanti
Noticing the senses is a simple, effective doorway to presence. Whenever we become aware that the mind is spinning in thought, or the heart is being held captive by turbulent emotions, we can gently acknowledge our thoughts and feelings without judgment, and shift the attention to our senses to begin to rest as presence.
Giving attention to the senses is not about noticing the objects of the senses, nor is it an emphasis on sensuality. The power comes from noticing, in any moment, the ever-presence of sensing itself. Sensing is always happening, but its power is usually hidden by the less subtle mental and emotional noise of our day-to-day thoughts and their resulting feelings. Scientists have found that noticing the senses quiets the thinking part of the brain.
We think by thinking we will figure something out and come to peace about it. But what we are really doing is training the mind to think more thoughts. Then those thoughts are followed and thought about, creating more thought. When we are distracted by trying to make things better in our minds, we can’t see that things are already better than we think.
How do we meet thought with silence? First, we can notice that we have been caught up in it. At the moment we notice it, we are no longer caught. We can simply acknowledge it without judging ourselves for becoming lost in thought, and without trying to put a positive spin on what we’ve been thinking about, or deciding what to do about it in the future.
Then we can turn our attention to hearing, seeing, touching, without naming what is being perceived, or having any story about it at all. We can notice, “Hearing is already happening in this present moment. Seeing is arising effortlessly. Touch is already connecting this body with the ground of being.”
Finally something can appear that is not from thought. The ever-present background of acceptance, silence, peace, and real love can be perceived.