Ode to the senses

Being sensuous is to love life deeply, to find delight in the divine’s endless expressions, to leave a world of right and wrong, true and false, black and white and enter into the world of Lila, a world of all colors of the rainbow. Being sensuous means to lovingly and joyfully inhabit my expressions, actions - moving from being a spectator or critic in the audience to the inside of what is alive in this very moment. I am presented with endless entries into this inner world every moment of my life. What seems so “outer” - has a very “inner” existence.

I wake up in the morning, my body feels rejuvenated- I am laying in my bed, my breath is steady, light caresses my face if it is spring and summer, darkness gently envelopes me if it is fall or winter - the sound of dawn, the fresh scent of this young day all flow on my inhale into my body, my breath carries this symphony of sensory delight into every cell of my body. I am blessed to live surrounded by nature, so after getting out of my bed I step out onto my little deck (come rain or sunshine), greeting the day - inhaling, listening, feeling the breeze, the wind, the temperature. Moving from an expression of gratitude and reverence, my arms and hands reach toward the sky, stretching my back, bending backwards - I am sensing the tensions in my body, I am feeling release with each vertebrae that moves. feeling the opening of my chest when I reach back, behind me, when I include my “shadow”. From there I come back to find rest in my heart-space - I am filled with gratitude that is palpable. The fragrance of the air, the sound of the intensely alive insects, the vibrations I can feel in the atmosphere, the song of the birds - all flow through me, fill me, echo in my fiber, my cells.

Taking a shower I feel the sensation of water running over my body - water that at some point in time ran through the banks of the Yamuna river, was a drop in the Atlantic Ocean, rained down on a desert - precious, life-giving water.  I am drying myself with a towel and feeling invigorated. I am brushing my teeth and finding delight in the rhythmic sensation of the toothbrush gently massaging my gum and the freshness of my breath. Opportunity over opportunity to step into experience and live in the fullness of presence.

Preparing food, even the simple slicing of bread, boiling water for tea - is a well of sensuous experience; sound, aroma, texture, temperature, color, moisture, dryness, softness, shape. The less processed my food is, the closer I am to the farmer, the land and soil that providing me with this nourishment to my body. The rain and the sun that made this apple grow, are part of this experience as is the loving hand who picked the apple. Having “my farmers” sit with me on my table is not just a story, but an inner experience which brings me great delight.

The most simple meal can be a sensuous experience. Just remember how it feels if you come out of the bitter cold of a harsh winter and can wrap your hands around a bowl of hot soup or tea, how each sip warms up your body; or how in the heat of a hot summer a slice of watermelon drenches each cell of your thirsty body.

I surround myself with things that are beautiful in texture, material, design, color - which through their beauty, become alive because they tell the story of the abundance of life.

I buy things that are as natural as possible and have a story. Whenever possible I buy things from artisans, craftsmen and artists - so their love creating them lives in the object. I wear clothes that are not just functional, but please my eyes, my sense of touch, fabrics that breath.

I make time in the middle of the day to stop, to give time to listen to my breath, to close my eyes and I delight in the subtle sensations of my humming body. I make time in the middle of the day - to look into this world with open eyes - not looking for anything, just drinking in all the colors, shapes, movements that enter my sight and I relish in the immense wealth and depth of expression this life showers me with every moment.

Each moment lived in love, in embrace is a sensuous experience. Lila is not Maya in the human experience. Our perceived separation from Lila is Maya. Or as Hazrat Inayat Khan said: “Reason is the illusion of reality”.