Use your Senses not your Stories

Use your Senses not your Stories


Bill Benson with a Dog - Use senses not storiesI am an avid observer of dogs: I find their combination of instinct and logic inspirational. Sure, they may occasionally cower or growl but these are in-the-moment reactions to issues-at-hand. Dogs are present-tense creatures.

We, on the other hand, typically disconnect from our surroundings. Lost in thought, we function from the stories we spin. Somberly wondering why someone has rebuffed us or sleeplessly tossing and turning the night before a work presentation. We find ourselves recounting the past or worrying about the future instead of paying attention to what’s right in front of us: People habitually live in past and/or future-tenses.

Good News

There is good news: According to findings published last week in The Journal of Current Biology, awareness actually increases with time. This research implies that wisdom and enlightenment are natural outcomes of aging. The challenge is older individuals also have a decreasing ability to suppress irrelevant information. With too many competing thoughts in our heads, we become increasingly confused and forgetful….

So how do I let go of what’s on my mind?

The axiom “coming to our senses” persists in our culture for a reason. Dogs (again) are great illustrations of this adage: Touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. Canines adapt by drinking in and responding to what’s unfolding before them. If it’s a hot day, they’ll spread themselves across cool floors, if it’s cold, they’ll ball up, nose-to-tail, in order to conserve body heat. Learning how to “shake-hands” with our circumstances (as a dog would) reconnects us with “what is.”

What are your surroundings telling you?
Are you acting in harmony with this information?

As realization takes hold, sensible decisions become obvious. Appropriate responses become second-nature, and uncluttered and positive life paths becomes more likely.

Sit and Stay

Don’t be distracted by the hustle/bustle. Sit long enough to observe what is unfolding and stay connected to your senses. Extract the simple truths of any given situation and respond accordingly.

Savor the flavor by lapping up this holiday‘s happenings as a dog would. Clarity of consciousness is a gift with many life-long benefits. Rejoice and be glad in it.


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