In a recent post I shared 3 ways to make meditation more pleasurable- letting the imagination be part of it, focusing on the heart instead of the head, and ending it with physical touch such as self-massage. These send signals of pleasure and safety to the body and let our meditation be not a form of escape from our body, but an honoring of our body as a temple.
Today I was thinking about the five senses and how bringing them into meditation has made my practice more pleasurable over the years. Here are five of my favorite ways to honor touch, sound, smell, sight, and taste in meditation:
Touch: Mala beads really bring in the sensation of touch. They give a tactile experience to the whole thing, not to mention they inspire you to use your voice by chanting a mantra over each bead as you slide your fingers along, and using the voice is great for embodiment because it actually creates vibrations which we can feel in our body.
Sound: I love to gently strike a Tibetan bowl before and after I meditate, and I do this with clients on tarot reading calls. The sound alone takes you on a kind of meditation, it’s so beautiful and ancient sounding. And listening to it gives the chattering mind something to focus on, calms it down. Another way I honor my body’s sense of sound/ listening is I keep a record player/ speaker with a phone input next to my altar. I can plug my phone into it and play nature sounds or Celtic harp music, or a relaxing playlist while I’m meditating. You can take it to the next level by putting in headphones/ airpods and listening to a guided meditation while your relaxing music/ nature sounds are playing out of the speaker!
Smell- Ritual oil, sometimes called ‘anointing oil’, is wonderful to activate and honor our body’s sense of smell during meditation. What I love about this is you can also put the oil on chakra points in the body to bring more focus/ love there. Alternatively, you can dab some on like perfume after your meditation is over, so throughout the rest of your day you can keep smelling it and being brought back to the memory of meditation. The other way I love to bring in smell is through burning an incense stick.
Sight- Honoring the body’s sense of sight in meditation can be a complex ritualistic experience like gazing at a spiritual diagram such as the Sri Yantra, or as simple as gazing at at a candle flame (one of my favorite ways to meditate). To make it really fun, bring in your tarot cards! I pull one tarot archetype from the Majors every moon cycle to work with. I keep it on my meditation altar and gaze at the image, and try to make sense of all the symbols. Sometimes profound insights come when I do this during my meditation time. You can also bring meditation into the card! This is called tarot path/ reverse divination…you simply let the card become a dreamlike environment you ‘drop into’ and tune into, allowing the colors, images, and symbols to guide your imagination and take you on an inner journey!
Taste- To honor the body temple’s sense of taste, you can put a food offering on the altar, and then after the meditation, enjoy it as prasad (a Sanskrit word that means ‘food that’s been blessed or carries sacred energy’), letting yourself fully taste the food and savor the vibrant energy it carries, and give thanks for how it nourishes you! Often I think of prasad as food with gratitude in it. A few ideas: fruit, a piece of chocolate, a plate of cooked food, raisins, nuts, goji berries, avocados.
Thanks for reading! Here’s a myriad of ways you can work with me: