Beautiful Images for All the Senses

"Imagery", in a feng shui context, usually means paintings, photos, all we visually see. In reality, sensory input from any of our senses - sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste, plus kinesthetic awareness of how we move through space - produces an "image" in the brain.  

All of these sense-images inform and influence our body chemistry, emotional state, and mental concepts.  In any environment, we are living in an ongoing orchestral piece of music, where all the senses help to create the tune.  In our predominantly visual culture, we tend to be most aware of what we see, but it pays to be aware of what is coming in through all of our senses.

It is very easy to grow accustomed to all these little influences, and to miss what effect they may be having on us.  Whatever is around us should ideally help to:

Take a tour of what’s arriving through your senses in your home or where you workobserve your responses, and see if there are places where you could treat your senses to a happier experience.

Seeing:  When you look around at all the areas in your home or work, do you feel happy at what you see?  Do you feel uplifted, capable, inspired, or however it is that you want to feel as a result?  Do you have items that seem like they ought to be wonderful, but your experience of them is not wonderful?  What emotional mood do your various visual images evoke?

Hearing:  What are the sounds you hear on a regular basis in your environment?  Birds outside your window, the ring of your telephone or alarm clock, the hum of the refrigerator motor, etc.  Of course, many of these things are beyond our control to change, such as construction or traffic sounds, but they are all worth noting as you may gain insight into your internal experience by paying attention to all the sounds

Touch:  The feel on your skin of a cool leather couch, the smooth cotton sheets along the skin of your toes as you slide into bed at night, the irregular wood grain of a desk top, the fluffy cushioning of your step as you walk along a carpeted floor… are the different sensations that come through your skin friendly and welcome?

Smell:  The most primitive of all the senses, smell evokes immediate recollection of previous experience, and has a deep effect on the nervous system.  Smells are fundamental to a sense of well-being.  As you enter a room, or open up your refrigerator, what do you smell?  Smells are something we readily cease to be actively aware of, and are often best detected after you’ve been out of the house for a while. Any smell which causes your body to draw back from should be eliminated.  Smells, such as room fresheners, which cover up underlying smells, or numb our ability to perceive, can be removed to help achieve a healthier air quality.

Taste:  The sense of taste has the least relevance to feng shui, but it’s interesting that one’s personal aesthetic preferences are called “taste”.  Loosely interpreting this, one can say that what is around you ought to be nourishing, to feed your being, because sensory experience is a kind of food, and can actually help to provide energy in a way that’s similar to actual food.  Does what you have around you fit your “taste”, or needs for nourishment?

Kinesthetic:  How we move through space is constantly using the brain in a kind of balancing act as we turn corners to get into a room, around a piece of furniture, or up to fetch a book from a top shelf.  Is the arrangement of furniture and other items in your home, as well as the architectural design, something you experience as a joy to move through, or is it more of an obstacle course?

By becoming aware of the effect of all the different sensory effects from your environment, you can, instrument by instrument, bring the whole orchestra into a more harmonious tuning, increase your sense of well-being and energy level, and help you be more effective in your activities. Not all things are under our control to change, such as sounds coming in from the neighborhood, and this is not meant to be a perfectionistic endeavor.  Any lovely shift, no matter how small, in the impressions coming in through your senses, will help you experience more harmony, happiness, and well-being.