Twelve Senses: Not Just Five in the Human Being – Part III August 24 2016
The four senses that become the focus of development in a young person’s high school years are sometimes called the “higher” senses. All the senses must be cared for and developed with equal care. Development of all twelve senses is important all through a child’s life. However these final four senses flower in a particular way in high school that is a wonder to behold if the work done on the other eight is deep and thorough.
The sense of hearing
The sense of language, of speech
The sense of thought (of another)
The sense of ego (of another)
The sense of hearing is linked intimately with the sense of balance. The center of balance in human beings lies in the inner ear. The higher level of hearing that becomes possible as a human being matures is made to its maximum when the early efforts to cultivate a strong sense of balance was well protected and well done in the younger years. Listening connects itself intimately with all the senses. The sense of touch is involved in understanding almost anything as we “grasp” ideas. Seeing is connected to our hearing as we process new experiences of any kind. The sense of thought is in play, as we comprehend what it is we are hearing. An inner sense of feeling is stimulated through our hearing. We discern through our hearing many nuanced truths. A person’s tone of voice, or voice quality tells us much about the moral quality and trustworthiness of the human being behind the voice. Pythagoras paid particular attention to the laughter of those who would enter his high initiation training in his school of geometry. The quality of a laugh reveals a person’s soul and level of refinement. All of this is possible through our hearing.
The final three senses are not so automatically granted to each human being but become possible through the efforts of the individual him/herself. Education is instrumental in the building of capacity in these last three senses. These senses gather up the other nine to make decisions, cultivate discernment, forge a path to self-knowledge, as well as to knowledge of the world.
The sense of language is sometimes also called the sense of form. As babies babble their way through into listening to people speak to them, they practice form at the same time as practicing speech. Comprehending the words that people say and differentiating many words that have close meanings is only a small part of the dazzling work being done by little ones learning language. The form of the language is also part of the practice. The charming mistakes young children make about grammatical form speaks volumes to this exploration of the form of their language. “Mommy and I goed to the store.” (adding ed to make a verb past tense); “I don’t know if I am or I amn’t” (contractions formed by removing a letter); or “This person is magic and can be unvisible” (un-anything does, take it away in English!). These errors are in one sense correct as far as the form of the language is concerned. They demonstrate the exploration of the form of a language as a child learns their mother tongue far beyond the simple acquisition of vocabulary.
The sense of thought is that sense that makes it possible to comprehend the thoughts of another. Commonly held concepts allow us to listen or read the thinking of a person outside of ourselves and apply those concepts to be able to understand what the thoughts are trying to express. This sense is all-important in building community and in seeking peace. So often misunderstandings arise because the thoughts we express are not clear or are taken the wrong way. A refined sense of thought allows individuals to comprehend and ponder the meaning of what another human being is working to express.
The last sense, the sense of ego, is closely akin to the sense of thought. Through this sense we identify another human being who is separate from us. It is therefore a defining of myself that happens through the process of identifying the higher self of another. It identifies separateness in mature individuals. A young child, for example, feels part of her mother, her family, her neighborhood, and would be surprised to consider herself as separate from them. This sense of self through the “selves” of others comes much later in a young person’s development. This sense of experiencing and identifying another’s ego is my own higher self meeting the higher self of another. This requires all the senses to accomplish this in a clear and moral way and to feel empathy or compassion for another. We must experience the other, understand the thoughts of another, hear the voice of another, to see the other. To be able to experience the ego of another requires real confidence in our own ego. Through this confidence we can open ourselves to others for genuine conversation, community, communion, and love. When we decide we can surrender our own ego in service or in love for another or for a higher cause, we then experience the highest level possible in the sense of ego. Consciously offering my ego up to another defines my ego most precisely. We need to know who we are in our higher selves to be able to relinquish it in offering.