MINDFULNESS OF BREATHING AND SMELLINGNote: This essay repeats in Chapter One and Chapter Four
Traditional and modern meditations are full of breathing awareness exercises. However, i have never heard of the sense of smell being used or even mentioned in any breathing awareness meditation or pranayama yoga exercise.
Hedgehogs and dogs would probably consider breathing, without smelling, to be a complete waste of time.
Smelling is the active ingredient of breathing. If i'm not aware of the smell, then it is only a narrow awareness of the breathing. It's like hearing electrical notes without the trumpet and violin tones. It's like seeing in black and white.
None of our broadband senses are as intimate as the sense of smell. We take smell inside our bodies, in a way we don't feel with sounds and sights. We may sometimes feel sounds pass through us, but this is not comparable with the smells which fill us.
When being mindful of just the breathing, the sensation is of the in- and out-breath. When smelling it is a process of ingesting and savouring. It is a totaly different perspective on breathing.
Smelling is a far stranger and deeper world than seeing and listening.
Modern day humans are so unfamiliar with their sense of smell, that we need time to relearn about them and start to recognise their potential.