The Rebirth of the Senses

I know that there's a purpose for each season of the year, and that there must be some higher cosmic reason for my living in the frozen Northeast USA, where a simple drive to the store can involve more high adventure than the most dramatic action movie.

I know this, but I don't totally accept it, and by the beginning of March I'm eager to put away the arctic-weight coat, the Nepalese sweaters, the layered mittens, and just as eager for the earth to shed its layers of white.

I want to be outside and feel the wind (as opposed to a wintry blast) on my face. I want to smell grass, leaves, and flowers, and earth. My senses, as insulated during winter as my physical body, are ready to reawaken.

(Note: my apologies to Southern Hemisphere readers, for whom this article comes at the exact wrong time. It will, however, be on the web site, when your spring comes.)

Crystal Sense

Whether you are new to crystals or would like to take your sensory appreciation of them to a deeper level, spring is the perfect time to make and deepen such connections.

One way to do this is to generally open one's senses, and spring is the ideal season for doing this.

Does It Matter Where You Are?

Often people who live in cities feel that they have more difficulty in opening their sensory awareness; in fact, it often seems wise to close up as many senses as possible. I can appreciate this, having lived in New York City for twenty-three years.

I will readily agree that one must deliberately focus one's attention in order to find nature in an urban environment, but it is also true that country dwellers can often become so accustomed to natural splendor that they often don't notice it, and may be in as much need to reawaken themselves.

Breathing

I've mentioned the importance of breathing quite often in these newsletters, and I'm liable to keep on doing so.. Deep breathing, whether in traditional meditation, or in the kind of walking meditation I will describe below, is one of the most powerful ways to open one's ability to experience sensation.

If you would like to, stop for a moment and practice this exercise.

  1. Make sure that your feet are on the ground (literally). Take a deep breath, and imagine that your breath originates with the soles of your feet, moves up your legs, to your abdomen, back, chest, out your arms, up your neck to your head.
  2. Then exhale, reversing the direction of your breath.
  3. Keep on doing this until your inhalations and exhalations come easily.
  4. Now expand your scope. Continuing to imagine your breath coming up as you inhale and down as you exhale, feel your breath filling all of your cells until you feel an overall tingling. (This is also a good exercise for anxiety, worry, or any emotion which has you agitated.)

Walking Meditation

To turn the above breathing exercise into a walking meditation, use a pattern of four steps for an inhale and four for an exhale.

As far as the location of this exercise, this is walking, not hiking. You might want to visit the flowers in a park or walk among trees. Just be sure that there's plenty of variety in terms of living things to appreciate.

In terms of a length for this exercise, I favor modest beginnings. When we take on too much too soon it's all too easy to say, "See, that didn't work." A five-minute walk could be enough for a beginning.

As regards frequency, only do this when it feels like a nice thing to do, and never as a duty.

I also prefer modest goals. You may go out on your first walk, and immediately have full sensory awareness of every living thing, but don't quit if this doesn't happen. This is like any kind of exercise, you're developing the sensory equivalent to muscles.

The goal I suggest is to enhance your sensory awareness of what you experience during your walk. If I, for example, were to walk on my property I would focus for no more than a minute at a time on something which caught my eye. If it were a tree, I would be aware of the texture of the trunk, the softness of the leaves, etc.

As you walk you may also want to be aware of sounds: the wind blowing through the leaves and bird song, the sound of your feet on grass. You can choose to be aware of smells and the texture of the earth you walk on. There's no special agenda.

I think -- or perhaps I would do better to say, I feel -- that you will find this a rewarding experience which will open your senses, and that, as your senses generally expand you will also find a deepened appreciation of your crystal companions.

Spring Colors

In celebration of spring, I devote the second part of this newsletter to the green stones.

In general, green is a color which symbolizes new life, growth, and regeneration. Based on these qualities, it is also related to healing, on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.

Abundance is related to growth, and is a form of health in that having that which you desire and have worked/prayed/meditated to have creates balance and satisfaction, two conditions which are a necessary part of health and well-being.

The relationship of creativity to the color green is connected to creativity as the ability not only to have interesting ideas, but to plant and harvest them. Here we look at the creativity as being one of nurturing.

(Note: In general, green stones belong on the heart chakra, but there are some exceptions among the stones below.)

Aventurine: This stone is considered the all-purpose, meaning that it can assist with healing on all levels. I've found its soothing qualities especially useful for emotional healing and balance. It is also very helpful for stress. Because of aventurine's ability to dissolve blockages it works well with stones which surface blockages but don't dissolve them, such as malachite, lapis, and obsidian.

Green Calcite: This is another healing stone. Because its energy is so soft and soothing, it's helpful for releasing fear-based belief, anger and mental and emotional rigidity. It is also a very useful stone to have around when you're going through changes; it can help you relax into them.

Green Fluorite: The fluorite family of stones basically relates to the ability of the mind to be open and to advance to higher levels of thought. Green fluorite, in my experience, connects particularly the nurturing of creative ideas.

Green Tourmaline: This stone's particular gift is its ability to help purify and strengthen the nervous system so that it can circulate increased spiritual energy. In my experience it can help one to handle increased levels of any kind of energy. Thus, if your creative levels are high, and need to be focused, green tourmaline is an excellent stone to work with. Many people relate this stone to abundance, as well.

Chrysoprase: Because of its relationship to balance this stone is often valuable in making us more receptive to the energies of some of the other green stones. It is an "attracting" stone; it can attract situations and people which may be of assistance in creating abundance and/or success in new projects. Similarly, rather than being directly related to healing, it helps one to accept healing energies.

Peridot: This stone is particularly related to healing on an emotional level, being associated with the soothing of wounded egos. Since one's sense of self is especially related to the navel-solar plexus area, peridot is best placed on this area.

Malachite: For me, the light-to-deep-green hues and swirling patterns especially represent the quality of rebirth and growth associated with spring. It's also purifying, in the sense that it can help to draw out emotional negativity. For this purpose, it can best be placed on the solar plexus, where many emotions are held, but it can also be used on the heart.

Moss Agate: In crystal layouts this stone is most often placed on the third eye, as it is very helpful in balancing the rational and intuitive mind. You may also find it especially helpful in communicating with the spirit of nature. With its tree- and fern-like designs it is for many the soul of nature.

Flower Awareness

Corn (FES) is a particularly effective antidote to the numbness many urban dwellers cultivate in response to their environment.

Though particularly recommended for people who have difficulty in being grounded in practical realities, Clematis (Bach) can help all of us to connect with earth energies.

Wild Rose (Bach) helps to overcome the state of apathy (the human version of hibernation) into which we may fall during the winter months.

Nicotiana (FES), also recommended for the release of addictions, can help us to release emotional numbness.

Essential Oils

The wonderful thing about essential oils is that their fragrances directly invite us to reawaken our senses. Some particularly stimulating fragrances include Peppermint, Juniper, and Ylang-ylang.

Melissa (lemon balm), Fennel, and Basil evoke the pleasures of an herb garden (and may inspire you to plant one.) Lemon, Lime, and Orange may suggest the warmth of tropical climates.

Enjoy your essential oils, and make them a regular part of your deepened sensory awareness.


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