longing to fly while the dead-weight bones
toss their dark mane and hurry
back into the fields of glittering fire
even the great whale,
throbs with song.
The Humpbacks by Mary Oliver
When we experience bliss, it is a uniquely personal feeling, and usually involves most of our different senses, but always it is particularly delightful to our primary sense.
The primary, dominant sense is the one through which information comes most easily and efficiently. In fact, studies can detect which your preferred system is, by analyzing the speed with which you process sensory stimuli. That’s why you tend to gravitate towards, and return to, environments that reward your sensory preference.
Besides the visual and auditory people, there is another category of sensory preference that is often grouped as a cluster and called the “tactile” sensors. Tactile people are unusually sensitive to odor, taste, temperature and textures.
Learners with tactile perceptual preferences often need to underline as they read, take notes when they listen, or keep their hands busy in other ways. Members of this group may never read the notes they write. Rather, the activity of writing is how they process and retain the information they are absorbing.
People whose dominant sense is tactile prefer whole body movement and require real life experiences in order to understand and enjoy the world about them. Studies show that they learn best when they are totally involved in an activity.
They can learn a lot about people from shaking hands or dancing, and the subtle smells of places and people are very important to them. They will pick out their wardrobe based on comfort and fabrics that feel good on their skin. They are physically active, and enjoy cuddling, touching and hugging their friends.
Their spatial senses are finely honed, and they can easily identify objects and move about in the dark. However, they are prone to claustrophobia and usually prefer the outdoors to being inside. They are excellent with their hands, and love such activities as woodworking, sculpture and pottery, knitting, and other crafts. They would much rather participate in sports than be a spectator.
For tactile people, sitting meditation may be an anathema. They need to shift their bodies often, and tapping their toes or fingers is as natural as breathing. However, they can easily go into a deeply meditative “zone” in movement. Dance, tai chi, and other moving meditations are ideal alternatives for the tactile person.
And bliss for them is also is deeply sensual. You know you are a tactile person if your favorite routes to bliss would include things like soaking in a hot tub, getting an aromatherapy massage, basking in the sun, or sampling exotic foods with a lover.
On Tuesday, after tomorrow’s Card of the Week, I’ll share some more about the connection between your dominant sense and the experience of bliss.
But meantime, I’d love to know – what is your sensory preference? Do you know yet? What sends you into bliss? Heaven knows, we could all use a little more bliss in our world. Please share your thoughts.