Write about what you can’t see.
In the dark, the light is only present from within. I can’t see my body. I can’t see things touching me. I can’t see the objects causing the noises around me. I can only imagine based on what I touch, smell, hear, and, if I’m especially adventurous, taste. So my mind has to be very clear to draw an accurate depiction of the world around me. Otherwise, the image in my head will be flawed and the way I interact with the world will be flawed. So first, I must focus. But it’s hard to focus on that which you cannot see. So first, I must focus on nothing and then I must focus on listening.
So I start with one sensation at a time. I listen with my ears. I hear a car coming, getting closer to me, and then getting farther away. It must have turned around. Then another car does the same thing 15 minutes later.
I hear an owl hooting close by but another a little farther away. So there must be two and they must be apart from each other.
I hear faint laughing in a distance and a man talking. A dad must have made a joke in a house nearby.
So what can I understand from these three observations?
I’m near a street that isn’t that busy and cars keep turning around. I may be on a cul-de-sac. I hear owls hooting so I’m around deep trees. I hear faint laughing in a distance, it could either be a Ghost or an open window in a house nearby as it seems that I’m in a residential area.
Okay, that helps me. Now let’s move on. What do I smell?
I smell smoke. But it’s not a fire, it smells like meat on a barbecue grill. It smells really good. So a talented person is grilling.
I smell air freshener. So it was sprayed recently in the area I’m in. It must mean I’m inside. It’s a nice citrus smell.
I smell those jasmine flowers. So they must be nearby on some fence or tree. And there must be a window open.
So what can I now understand from these observations?
It seems like I’m inside because no one sprays air freshener outside and that there must be a window open because of the smells from outside that are coming in. I must be close to a house grilling and close to a bush that is harboring the jasmine vine.
Okay, that helps me. I now know that I am inside, probably a house, in a residential area. Now what? What do I feel?
I feel a rug or carpet underneath my feet. So the flooring is made of carpet?
I feel a foam squishy thing underneath my butt. So I’m sitting on a bed?
I feel a warm furry creature up against my right arm. A dog? A cat?
I feel a cool breeze hitting me from above. A ceiling fan?
So what do I now know from these observations?
It seems like I am in a bedroom, sitting on a bed, with an animal next to me. This bedroom probably has an open window and a ceiling fan. The window probably opens up to the cul-de-sac, across which are houses, where the grilling smell and the laughing noises are coming from.
Now I have some sort of clarity on where I am. Without looking, I can essentially see. In the darkness, I still find light from within which helps me understand the world around me.
I find that, much too often, I fail to realize that I have more than just my sight. I don’t use my other senses as much to help me understand the world I live in and interact with. Which makes my interaction, not as effective, and not as immersive. I only started to realize after meditating over the course of the past few weeks, that I can draw a fairly accurate picture of the world around me even when my eyes were closed and that, some times, it can be even more accurate than when my eyes were open because, oftentimes, I forget to notice. I don’t notice certain things that I would otherwise notice when I focus on listening to my other senses.
The sense of sight is a gift that can be overbearing at times. We focus too much on things we see and forget to listen, to smell, to feel, and sometimes, to taste, the very things before our eyes we are observing and that makes the thing we interact with very one-dimensional; we fail to participate in interacting with the other dimensions of the object. Sometimes it helps to shut down one sensation for a brief moment and focus on the others. It not only helps you understand the value of the sensation you are not using, but it also helps you understand the value of the other sensations you don’t pay attention to.