Discovering Your Senses – Hearing

The wind whistling outside my window just before a storm.
The rustle of the leaves falling from the trees in the garden.
The chirping of birds, the fluttering of their wings.
The sound of feet, walking up a creaky stairway.
The ring of your alarm, after you have hit the snooze button.
It truly is a privilege; the sense of hearing that leads us to sound. It begins with a vibration, which is everywhere at once, and guides us – without us even acknowledging it – to hear the sounds that vibration creates. Pleasant sounds have the power to uplift us when we are most upset, and unpleasant ones can make us feel really badly.
For me personally, hearing is such a precious sense, because it led me to discover the vibrations and sounds of one of my innate gifts and passions: singing!
I love singing and, over the years, I have realized how much sound and music can easily influence the thoughts, feelings and emotions that constitute our mood. A lot of our likes and dislikes may be dependant on our current state of mind. We might like jazz or classical music when on vacation, blues when we are suffering a broken heart, and then techno, salsa or disco music when we are dancing the night away! These sounds help us maintain the current mood.
Music and sounds evoke certain feelings and emotions in us. They have the power to completely transform our mood, as well. The sound of your mother’s voice, for example, may relax you, or it may startle you. The gentle motion of ocean waves hitting the shore may change your feelings of tension into a sense of calm. Emotions and sounds are closely related. They interact and affect each other, and this combination can settle into our being and our minds and dictate the way we feel.
Memory also plays a role in how we relate to different sounds. A familiar sound can stimulate a memory and bring you back to the very moment you heard it, and you feel the same way you did when you experienced it for the first time.
Your wedding theme song, for example, will take you back to your first dance, and a nursery rhyme from your childhood might put you immediately to sleep. We remember ourselves the way we were when we first heard the sound, and all the feelings and emotions that were present in us at that time.
Memory attached to sounds can take you completely out of the present moment, making you relive the past, time and time again.
That’s why I love live music. Somehow it invites us to appreciate our sense of hearing in a whole different way. The live performance, as a combination of hearing and sight, brings us to enjoy as well the present moment. Some musical styles encourage improvisation, or solo performances, even within a well known song, and that is like hearing the tune or the words to the song for the very first time. What if we could live our lives that way? Willing to hear new sounds in familiar tunes? Or hear new tunes and make them familiar? How can this exploration of the sense of hearing through music and sound invite even more into our lives?
A highly niche skill, music is not only for enjoyment, but has also been proven to develop and sharpen aptitude in the human mind.
Think about it for a minute. Music is not only loved worldwide, but it also has the power to help you communicate with others. Beyond language, borders, and nationalities. The hit song “Despacito” found recognition and appreciation even to the ears of the non-Spanish speaking populations across the globe.
Music has always been a part of my life and I have always allowed it to enter into my soul and transform me. I find it to be one of the easiest means of expression and it relaxes me and brings me back to the joy I really am. What would it take for us to allow this magical perception and sense of hearing to bring us closer to who we truly are and enhance our connection with everyone and everything on the planet?
When we are willing to acknowledge all the many vibrations we are aware of, we can hear those that create sound in a whole different way. The magnitude of it is astounding, even when a vibration is not audible, we may not hear it, but we can still perceive it. What beauty of this wonderful sense of hearing can we acknowledge that will allow us to expand our senses beyond the limitations of this reality?

Kass Thomas

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Read the other ones on Discovering your Senses:

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Discovering Your Senses – Taste

The word alone conjures up so many different ideas for me. As I delved deeper into the topic, thanks to this month’s articles and calls, a whole new world of possibilities reveals itself. Through sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste, we have access to so much information, it is really quite astounding. Let’s explore this topic of Taste today, and see what more deliciousness we can invite through our senses.

What is Taste?
Taste is a means of perception brought to us through different areas of our tongue. It helps us to differentiate spice from salt, sweet from bitter and allows us to enjoy the richness of different foods.

Initially food was considered one of the basic human needs: food, shelter and clothing. But over the years, food has gone from a necessity to a lively market which includes financial, social, and luxury arenas. Today, in fact, the food industry is a major employer and income-generator for a large sector of the population. It also gifts us the pleasure of a beloved and globally shared passion: eating!
And all this centers around the celebration of this wonderful sense that is – taste!

How does this sense of taste work?
There are five different tastes that are perceptible through our tongue’s receptors. Each one of them reflects the presence of a different element: sweet taste in food signals the presence of sugar; salty taste indicates the presence of minerals; an excessively sour or bitter taste may alert us to the presence of potentially poisonous elements; umami confirms the presence of proteins. And how much more information do these receptors give us? We may be relatively familiar with salty, sweet, sour and bitter, but what do we know about the latest discovery, umami?

What is this umami?
Umami has recently been unveiled as the fifth taste. Recognized as a savoury and delicious taste present in rich foods, it is also said that umami contains glutamate, an element found in breast milk. Say what?!?!

That’s right, this newly discovered taste of umami gives us a full-packaged, nurturing and wholesome sensation that stimulates sensations in us that go beyond our palette – it reaches and settles into our very being. Why is that? Well, perhaps because the presence of glutamate in the umami taste triggers memories of the first identifiable food for the human race –  breast milk. Wow! So, whether or not you were breastfed as a baby, the presence of umami on your palette can activate a feeling of home, safety and belonging.

It is interesting how food and tastes alone can connect us to the roots, history and memory of things that we may or may not even be cognitively aware of.

The five different tastes – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami – and the ways they are used, usually distinguish different groups, cultures, and geographical areas, often providing nationalities with a large part of their identity: the pizzas and pastas of Italy, the hot dogs and cheeseburgers of the USA, sushi and sashimi from Japan, chicken tikka masala from India, borscht from Russia.

What else is truly possible through this basic yet profound sense of taste?

Bridging the gap through Flavor
“There is so much more that unites us than separates us” is the tagline to my book 7steps to Flawless Communication.

I love hosting international dinners and events and including a variety of these tastes in the menu. It always peeks a sense of curiosity and delight in my guests as they get a chance to explore a taste of different cultures.

Taste is a way to celebrate different flavors and discover new sensations. In addition to the deliciousness of the food, there is also the richness of histories embedded into the flavors of the food we eat. Discussions and sharing different tastes and flavors can unite people, bridge cultural gaps and lower barriers of communication. It might be the smell emanating from the kitchen of a stranger that reminds you of the love your mother poured into your favorite dish, or the memory of the best pasta you ever had that ignites your passion to finally learn Italian.

Food is also a major influencer for travellers who trot across the globe to visit a small town or major city known for a particular dish. The origins of certain tastes – and how they combined with other tastes to create celebrated dishes – is a topic of many television shows lately. It is also a great incentive for food lovers, like me. I personally love experiencing the local flavor of a place through the people, food, wine, smells, sights and sounds. In my trips around the globe, the magic of taste creates rich memories of my visits and actually influences my choice of where to go next.

Taste is definitely a super-sense – it brings with it the joy of eating along with memories of our past, a sense of comfort in the present and inspires possibilities for a future that we have yet to explore.

I look forward to exploring even more about the five senses and beyond but in the meantime, remember to savour the richness of this sense of TASTE, today.

Kass Thomas

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Discovering Your Senses – Sight

What does sight mean to you?
As you read this sentence, for example, do you acknowledge the magical way in which the letters come together to form a word? Or do you immediately start trying to make sense out of the words without ever observing the individual letters?

When we allow ourselves to perceive what’s in front of us with a fresh approach, we are truly engaging our sense of sight and enjoying a host of facilities that this sense can provide us with. These include:


Sight gives to us the difference between light and dark, between colors and shapes and figures. It is the ultimate guiding sense that underlines the use of all our other senses. But do we realize its importance?

In order to realize the importance of sight, it helps to acknowledge that what we see rarely has to do with the vision that is actually in front of us. The appearance of something often triggers a particular memory of that vision and activates a feeling or reaction in us that we are not even aware of. Yet we live the whole experience based on that feeling or reaction. The physical surroundings of a happy event, for example, may lead to a bout of excitement in us that we cannot explain. Similarly, the same surroundings might invoke sorrow.

If I have a particularly happy memory of enjoying reading a book while watching a storm outside my window, every time I see a storm, I may recall that happy feeling, even years later. If instead, I was once caught outside in a storm and had a bad experience, every time I see a storm I might feel sad.

In what way can we enjoy the magic of what we see in the present moment without defining everything based on past experiences?

Here’s a little exercise that may help. Think of an incident that is the strongest in your memory. It could be happy or sad, but just the one that you feel has impacted you most. Got it? Good.

The next would be to close your eyes. When you close your eyes, re-create that situation, and focus on the physicality of it, more than sound, smell, taste or feel. Re-create the colors, the shapes, the structures, and the light. Focus on just that. Make a mental note.

After this, you may open your eyes.
Write down everything you saw. Whether the sun was shining brightly, whether the rain made the sky grey.

Now, the next time you see these things simply notice your reaction.

This is what I call the moment of choice. The moment you acknowledge that you are using your mind to interpret what you see in front of you, you are at the pinnacle of the moment of choice. At this moment you can choose to continue creating your present based on the past, or you can choose not to do that any longer.

It is true that the mind is generally prone to distraction. But when we acknowledge this tendency, we can then consciously choose to see what’s in front of us with a fresh view from the present without comparing it to the past.

Something different can show up in the present and we can appreciate the importance of sight in a whole different way.

And what about the future? Is it possible that the way we see things can help the creation of our future?

The truth is that we usually only realize the importance of something when we don’t have it anymore. Why do we close our eyes when we concentrate? When we meditate? Because when we cut vision from ourselves, it removes huge influential elements—the physical surroundings we are present in.

Let me give you an example.

Last month I organized a 7steps Prelude dinner at a St. Petersburg restaurant called Dans le noir, which literally means “In the Dark”. There were about 12 of us and we started conversing in the light of the lobby while selecting our food menu. We were then  lead into the dark dining area, where we continued talking. Gradually, in the absence of light, the initial predictable conversations began to transform into meaningful dialogues on unusual topics. Even though we had all met before at my 7steps workshop, the absence of light inspired us to approach each subject with a delicacy and authentic curiosity that inspired an atmosphere of a first-time encounter. The evening was called “Beyond the Veil”—one of the steps in my book 7steps to Flawless Communication. At the end of the evening, once we returned to the light, we allowed the gift of the sense of sight to enhance the magic of our experience and continue creating a future of possibilities.

The feedback from this workshop has been amazing. Participants have shared how they now see people and things anew every day, allowing their sense of sight to gift them with new choices for the creation of a future beyond the veil of past behavioral patterns.

What if we could simply enjoy the beauty, shapes, faces, and awareness we receive in every millisecond thanks to our sense of sight, without trying to identify them and make sense of them beforehand? Might that possibly change the future we create?


Well, now that we are aware of the vastness and importance of sight, comes the question:

What else is possible? What else can we create when we are willing to truly recognize the importance of this sense of sight?

Well, here are some reminders that hopefully will help you explore the possibilities with the sense of sight and open you up to a vision of the future that goes beyond your wildest imagination.

  1. Be Present
    Take in your surroundings fully and completely.
What shade of blue is the sky today? Does the dew in the leaves make it look even greener?
Trace the features of your loved ones, with great detail. This will help you be more aware and notice and appreciate things you hadn’t before.
  1. Learn to distinguish between your sight and your feelings.
    When we correlate what we see and how we feel, we are forever altering our perception of that sight and that feeling.
    Recognize that the way you feel is based on a whole lot of different elements coming together to form a unique experience and emotion.
Appreciate it as a distinct experience, and when you experience those sights again, be aware that this too is a distinct experience and allow it to be new and fresh.

3.   Close your eyes. Sometimes, just by closing your eyes and allowing the other senses to contribute to your perception, what you see when you open your eyes again can take on a very different sparkle… the magic of the sense of sight.
At the end of the day, we realize that it is true: sight does not exist alone. It finds its friends and support in our other senses as well as our mind. Still, we can do our best to appreciate the gift of sight and take full advantage of its value, even when we are dans le noir.

Usually, we only use sight to confirm the road we have already decided to choose. What if we allowed the sense of sight to enhance our exploration of new possibilities instead of repeating past experiences.

So, how can we utilize our sight to enhance the experience of the present?

Kass Thomas

#kassthomas #7steps #7stepstoflawlesscommunication #dancingwithriches #kassism 
#accessconsciousness #whatelseispossible #weip #nevergiveup #easejoy&glory

#communication #motivation #empoweringpeople #relationship