FIRST SMELLING and TASTING EXERCISES
Tasting and smelling are intrinsically connected, and they are a far stranger and deeper world than seeing and listening. Modern day humans are so unfamiliar with their senses of smell and taste, that we need time to relearn them and recognise their potential.
With tasting, i'm referring to the taste of our own body, we are so familiar with it that we don't notice it anymore. Use the tip of your tongue, and taste at the back on the soft palate, then up top on the roof of the mouth, then at the front behind the teeth, then underneath the tongue, then at both sides, notice the similarities and the contrasts. Then taste at the front between the lips and the teeth, up and down and both sides, and (if you lick them it disturbs the natural taste), just feel the taste of your lips.
The very sensitive tip of your tongue will help to clarify the contrasts, but now, without your tongue, take a minute to sense those tastes directly. This continues in Tasting Development Games.
With smelling, the first step is to notice that there is a difference in smell, between your in-breath and your out-breath.
Regulating the Breath with the Out-Smell
It's important to be able to let go of your breathing and give it time to regulate itself as described in Dozing Phase One. But also, a very good way to regulate the breath, is to smell the out breath, to recognise the difference between the ‛in-smell’ and the ‛out-smell’.
Noticing this fine difference and contrast between the 'in-smell' and the 'out-smell' will regulate the speed of the breathing.
We might occasionally recognise our own out-smell when we have bad breath, but normally we are never conscious of it. It is another 'constant' in our self-identity, and we are almost totally out of touch with it.
It's hard to recognise because it is always there, we are so used to it, it's so much a part f us that we don't notice it anymore.
Your nostrils are where you sense smells. Breathe in and savour the scent in your nostrils, and notice the contrast, notice how this sensation, the scent, dissapears on the out breath.
Notice the contrast between fresh air and your out-smell, ... hmmm, you notice nothing, maybe predominantly only a temperature change, ... smell in lemon, or soy sauce ... try again ... notice the contrast in flavour. Over the next few days and weeks, whenever you notice a smell, take a moment to let it fill you, and then notice the contrasting smell of your own out breath.
And then try this. Smell in the scent, savour it, and breathe out with your mouth slightly open,- the residue of the in-smell remains in your nostrils (and nasal canals etc.) and you will 'taste' the smell of your out breath with your mouth. Let this scent residue remain in your nostrils and build up over a series of say five breaths ... taste the out breath as it comes up from your stomach. ... is this contrast something to do with how animals experience their bodies?
Focus on Strong Smells to Stimulate Awareness
The outgoing smell and taste is easy to amplify with coffee, whisky, southern comfort, or chocolate, etc. And it's better to use one simple strong taste, rather than after a meal, when the taste of the meal seems to fill your whole body.
BUT you will need a variety of nice things to inhale. You don't want to inhale the same thing every day, a few days long if you enjoy it, but then it gets boring, and probably has one-sided effects.
Indoors, these days, i often use aroma therapy oils, (from ebay, takes a month from China, 1.50 euro per bottle, go to 'Kiuno' or 'Pyrrla'). In summer, i would advise you to rub your nose in a few roses or honeysuckle, ... empathise with bees.
Trying to find household equivalents is tricky. Tiger balm and clove oil don't work so well, peppermint oil is good but somehow thin, deeper smells are better like vick, and tea tree oil is very good ... i have little rags and heat them on a lamp ... rub them on my nose ... (and i haven't yet experimented with incense or perfumes).
Mindfulness exercises often encourage an awareness of the taste of food. In the same way, over the next few days and weeks, whenever you notice a good smell, take a moment to let it fill you.