Saturday, 7 February 2015

Sensory involvement

All else could be an illusion.

Recently I heard the term 'sensual involvement' and was re-introduced to the concept that being involved with the world with our senses is essential to our day-to-day happiness. In early childhood we would call this 'sensory engagement'. As humans who are probably only tapping into our spiritual side ten percent of the time most of our life is physical and therefore is all about our senses. Children are spiritually open and so potentially even more spiritually connected than we are. Their mentality, however, is not yet fully developed in that way so they are even more sensuality involved than we are. Personally I have the potential to be far removed from my physical body, with thoughts concerned with future worries or dreams, or uncomfortable realities, and a propensity to forget to be grounded in the present. And of course the present is life. All else is an illusion I suppose.

The great thing about my job is that it forces me to be sensually involved. All of a sudden I'm joining the children in smelling something or tasting something or looking at something. I mean, I would never stop and observe the patterns on the skin of a wiggly worm if they weren't doing it. In my personal life I would never find myself with my hands full of silky, melting corn flour goop, or experience the sensual pleasure of watching white and blue paint meld together beneath my hands into a pot of marbled, sky blue goodness. For sure I would forget to notice a bird tweeting on the fence, or a bee buzzing on the lavender bush. But, no, "Penny, Penny, we saw a spider, come and look!" is exactly what I need to remind me of the incredible reality of the natural world, and which is, by the way, the world that it was naturally conceived that I should live in.

One of the great joys of spending time with children is that they have such enthusiasm for experiencing the world with their senses, so we can take every opportunity to provide sensory experiences for them to enjoy. The delight on their faces when they are sensuality involved blows me away every time. I don't remember feeling that kind of happiness. On one hand you feel like you've done so little, but the children are getting so much out of it. Seeing it makes me happy. So it's win-win. So let's get them outside, get them tasting, smelling, seeing and feeling. Let's expose them to beautiful images, objects and artworks. Let's play music and dance, and dress-up in costumes made of beautiful fabrics. Let's do cooking and experiments. Let's put our feet in the water and our hands in the mud. Let's go out and run in the rain. Sensory involvement is important for children and it's so great for us too.

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