The Origin of the Senses, Part 2

The Origin of the Senses, Part 2

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CC, original by Ali K

Part 2

Why 5?
But why are there 5 senses? Our senses are mechanisms for awareness to pick up a specific range of qualities. And actually, there is 7 senses but 2 of them are too subtle to express physical sense organs.

Our world is structured in a 1 into 3 into 7 process. There are 7 koshas or primary layers of creation. There are 7 chakras or primary energy centers in our physiology, each attuned to one of those layers. And there are 7 primary sensory channels, each attuned to specific qualities, including those layers and chakras.

Not that these things are all directly equivalent. They’re simply associated from the levels they function on.

But why 7? We can say the 3 of consciousness reflects through a fulcrum making 7 but this only describes the chakras. To understand the layers and senses, let’s explore the stages of inertia (tamas) and the way clear flow gains density and steps down into physicality.

First, we have the process of consciousness becoming self-aware. This is the 1 into 3. Alert flow becomes experiencer, process, and experienced.

That takes place globally and at every point within itself. We can say awareness aware of itself collapses to a focal point of attention at every point to know itself completely. Or we can say the Shakti’s enter the global field of self-aware consciousness, enlivening points of perspective with specific qualities. We are one of those points.

As the attention from that point moves, the intellect discriminates increments and we experience time.

That point, the experiencer, experiences itself in relationship to other points, objects it experiences. This takes place in the space of awareness and that subtle space becomes conscious. When the attention is placed on itself, liveliness is expressed as vibration and space becomes a quality or element. Some have called this ether, the very beginning of substance.

Because increments of experience are happening in that space of awareness, we experience time as happening in space. But notice time comes from the process experience whereas space comes from the experiencer distinguishing itself from the objects of experience. Both are intimate to experiencing which inherently means sensing. Again, sensing the qualities of other points around us.

We can also note that consciousness is functioning in layers, leading to time and space being nested, layered like Russian dolls, infinities within infinities right down to local objects.

Movement of attention in space enlivens space. Vibration moves or flows. This denser flow is called Air. Air amplifies relationship and begins structure. Further liveliness brings forward the effulgence of consciousness into a denser form as light, Fire. Movement becomes more dominant and dense glow expresses as fields. A still greater density of moving flow and you have Water, fluid. Energy has become dominant. Still greater density and things settle into solidity, Earth. Each element contains all the ones before it. Movement and energy are present even in solidity. The blend of these qualities we experience as form and phenomena.

The more dense, the more resistant to change it is. And yet Dharma is that which sustains, that which keeps a platform of experience going so experiencing and unfolding can take place.

I’ve heard it described that density unfolds in a spiral, a spin for each layer of density. But this is not a global process because all objects are a unique blend of qualities. Another way we can see these steps is as vibration, relationship and geometry, field and movement, fluid and energy, and physicality.

Back to the senses, here are some associations:

Element Sensor Chakra Kosha
Earth Smell Root Physical
Water Taste Sex Energy/ Emotional
Fire Sight Power Mental
Air Touch Feeling Intellect/ Intuition
Space Hearing Speech Bliss

The senses we experience are attuned to the qualities of these subtle elements or primary qualities. Both are also associated with the 5 lower chakras and koshas.

6 and 7
We’ve all heard reference to the “6th sense.” Sometimes people use the term to refer to subtler versions of the above 5. But the 6th sense is knowingness, what we may call intuition or hunches. This is about sensing the flow of time and life. It relates to the knowledge body (4th kosha) and 6th chakra and the process of experience. This doesn’t have physical qualities and thus doesn’t have a physical organ.

The 6th sense relates to the 6th chakra but don’t confuse that with the third eye, one mechanism of subtle sight related to the 3rd chakra. This points to why this isn’t all tidy and logical. Intuition is often experienced in the 4th kosha and the heart, another feminine chakra. But some associate it more with the gut. The chakras all function in the 5th through 2nd koshas even though attuned to all 7. And so on. Remember that Earth contains all the other elements. They all interpenetrate.

The “seventh” sense is the most abstract. This is the sensor of oneness, of connection. Most people have only occasional glimpses of this but some do experience it as an ongoing reality. This is where we touch back into our soul, the point value. The 7th and 6th senses relate to empath gifts.

All life forms have a point value and thus have a soul and a mechanism of sensing. Some have less developed sense organs but still experience senses. A tree, for example, doesn’t have eyes or ears and thus experiences these senses in a less focused way. Physical and energy sensing are merged. Their metabolism is also much slower so time increments are fewer and the senses behave accordingly. Trees are more attuned to their oneness. Recent research on the “wood wide web” and tree communities point to this.

Birds have a higher metabolism, meaning faster time and usually sharper senses. But a smaller brain means a lower ability to process as much of that experience and be self-reflective.

Over the years, it has surprised me how differently various people experience the world around them. Their past experiences and what their senses are attuned to vary more widely than I’d expected.

This is even more true when we awaken refined perception. The range becomes vastly greater. Yet the aspects of that we’re inclined to develop within the potential range also differ. We end up with a huge range in capabilities.

Add in the variations in understanding and terminology and the picture is anything but clear if you try to research these topics. (personalization is also a huge issue)

None of us have the time to unfold all of it. Creation is way too vast. We’re a point value so we specialize. Others will unfold other arenas for us. Bringing their attention there enlivens it in consciousness making it easier to be sensed by those who follow.

Even without the time to explore, we gain the benefit of it being enlivened in consciousness by others. Then it just has to be pointed out and there it is.

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  1. Dr. Andreas Ullrich

    David, please what can you say about the practice of “feeling space” in and all around the body? Is it actually the air element which is felt (because it is the hearing organ that is associated with space), or is there a deeper “feeling” which can sense all and even the subtlest objects, so that – lastly – this meditation leads to the Absolute?!

    1. Hi Andreas
      The sense of touch is attuned to Air element but keep in mind that objects in our surroundings are a blend of elements, including the air around us.

      So yes, we don’t “feel” space. We don’t really hear space either. We hear movement in space aka vibration. And yet the ears are attuned to vibration in the air around us. We don’t usually hear space except on deep levels such as the primordial sound. And yet air includes space within it, attuning it to hearing.

      Part of the issue with describing some of this is language limitations. A better phrasing is being aware of the space around us. Otherwise, you may be confusing what you’re sensing.

      I can see the value of noticing the space we’re in but I’m not sure why you’d make it a practice. A practice has to transcend itself to take you to the “absolute”.

  2. Dr. Andreas Ullrich

    Thank you, David! In fact looking into empty space is an important practice in Dzogchen and in Kashmir Shaivism (Vijnana Bhairave Tantra). It anchors awareness there and the ordinary mind has nothing to fixate. In time, awareness cuts through to the higher tattvas.

    Concerning the feeling dimension: from my point of view, feeling its objects is the primordial mode of Awareness as such and is the basis of all the senses. Peter Wilberg describes that very well. What I find most interesting is the fact that in Shri Yukteswar’s “Holy Science” “Cit” is translated as “Omniscient Feeling”! Also this video supports Wilberg:

    1. Interesting. The most subtle sense is hearing but the feeling/intellect level is where structure first arises and what we might call “relationship.” Subjectively, we can certainly have a feeling of spaciousness and feeling can be more obvious. Consciousness itself, beyond space, has spaciousness as an obvious quality.

      I’ve used a mantra meditation which uses sound to transcend itself.

      Feeling can become boundless in chit but I’m not sure I’d translate the word that way. Words get tricky when you go beyond mind as everything can seem to mush together (unify). 🙂

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