“O for a life of sensations rather that of thoughts!” --John Keats
Welcome to another Dose of Pleasure Thursday! Hopefully by now you're taking time to appreciate all of the wonderful things in your life and you've got a Pleasure List on hand to keep the pleasure pump primed. During the next five weeks, we're going to explore the senses, which awaken us to the present moment and take our experiences out of our heads and into our bodies. When we experience the moment in our bodies rather than up in our heads, we feel more alive and full of pleasure.
A great way to access pleasure is through the senses. Often when we hear the word pleasure, we think of sensuality (no, no, this isn't an x-rated post – I'll keep this G-rated). What's more sensual than the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touches of life? If you want to see a sensual expert, take a look at a child. Children explore the world with sensual delight – they put things in their mouths, they sing along to songs on TV shows, they cuddle with people, animals and stuffed toys, they yell and scream.
In the coming weeks, I'd like for you to utilize your senses in a way that you probably haven't since you were a child. I want you to be deliberately sensual. That means that you're going to be very conscious about what you see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. This isn't about being ruled by your senses, but rather, it's about letting your senses take you more deeply into the present moment, the seat of pleasure. You've been blessed with 5 senses, so why not use them to their fullest and access the pleasure that they offer?
“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things in nature have a message you understand, Rejoice, for your soul is alive.” --Eleanora Duse
Scientist Roger Ulrich conducted a study about the effects of nature on patient recovery. After examining surgery patients recovering in a room with a view of leafy trees vs. patients recovering in the same room with a view of a brick wall, he found that the patients with the tree view were able to leave the hospital about a day earlier than those with a wall view. The patients with the trees in sigh also requested significantly less pain medication and reported fewer problems to nurses than the wall-view patients. As this study proves, pleasurable sights can heal. (for those of you interested in this topic, click here to read an excellent article about using the senses to heal).
Images seen in the mind are just as powerful. Think of all of the best-sellers out there on the power of creative visualization. There's no doubt that seeing is more than believing – it's healing and pleasing.
Pleasure Practice: Cultivating Vision
Take a deep breath and stop reading this post so that you can notice what you see around you. Take a minute to really look at your surroundings. Notice the scratch on the desk, the vibrant colors of a nearby plant, the coating of dust on the windows. Take in everything with a child-like wonder. What do you see? What do you notice that you've never noticed before?
I recommend doing this practice multiple times throughout the day. Here are some other practices for heightening your sense of sight:
- Take stop watch breaks (stop and take a look around – sort of like stop, drop, and roll except with looking and noticing instead of dropping and rolling) as described above throughout the day
- If you don't have an office or room with a view, create one. Surround yourself with lovely sights. Check out these free nature scene wallpapers for your desktop.
- Practice seeing meditation – feeling drained, tired, or blah? Try meditating on beautiful pictures for a few minutes.
- Practice Creative Visualization
Fill your week with pleasing sights. Rather than simply looking, see. If you struggle with this exercise, wear a blindfold for 15 minutes and then notice how sharp your vision seems after you take it off and use your eyes again.
Next week I'll discuss sound and how to tune into pleasure using this delightful sense. Until then...
Have a pleasure-filled week,