This is the last step in the essays on body and breathing, and the previous sections in this Chapter. In order to fully understand the connections here, you will need to read all of those sections first.
In Praise of The NoseIf we had an image of God here, i would worship Hedgehogs : they can hardly see or hear, but they snuffle like world champions. Their whole reality and sense of self and the world outside rotates around smells, ... where we think: objects produce smells – a hedgehog thinks, and experiences: smells produce objects.
The Invigorating In-Smell and the Habitual Out-SmellFor hedgehogs, their own smell is a constant, in relation to all the smells of the world around them. They are so used to their own inside (and outside) body smell and scent, that it happens without them really noticing it.
I've obviously no scientific proof, but i imagine that their out-smell is some sort of guide to their own inner health (in the same way we use visual symptoms), so, even though they don't need a constant conscious awareness of it, i believe they would be very quick to notice and react to any changes.
So, it seems to me, any sensible hedgehog scenting the world, would use the time during the old normal, reliable, habitual 'me-smell', the out-smell – to savour every available new in-scent which they can find.
And outside – where scents change with each change of wind – each fresh new in-smell is savoured and examined – they search out all the different meanings behind the smells, and notice the slightest contrasts and changes.
Th PracticeI repeat: to start with, smell-in something strong and good. Simulate and experiment with how dogs smell, as described in the last Essay. Savour the new incoming scent.
Notice the contrast of the in-scent and out-taste to regulate the breathing.
Do this a few times for just a minute, as often as you can, in various places, for a few days.
It's probably only ten minutes ago that you did this for the first time, but let's just imagine we've been doing it all our lives, and now we're bored with our out-smell, our own inside body smell, we already know it. We feel secure in that constant knowledge of ourselves.
We're only interested in the new in-smells around us. We want to know if there's anything edible or dangerous around us.
So we want to concentrate on the residue of the in-scent. So, continue to sense the residue of the in-scent while you are breathing out, with no interest in your out-taste.
Notice how the sensation spreads. It feels to me, like the sensation extends first to the upper half of my head, noticably into an area behind the cheek bones, across the roof of my mouth, and it opens out a bit like a cavern spreading out to the ears and the back of the head.
Focus exclusively, enjoying, and curious about only the in-smell. Sense the residue as it builds up maybe in the entire brain area. Let the feeling spread, examine it. Savour it. Digest it.
Do this for a few breaths. Where do you sense the scent?
Savouring and Digesting the ScentsAmoebas have chemoreceptors, this means they have a rudimentary sense of something like, deeper than or combining, taste and smell.
I have a feeling that every cell in my body must have a primitive form of this taste/smell perception for its environment. Scientifically speaking each cell 'responds' to oxygen – i understand this as : each cell senses, tastes and digests oxygen.
When we touch things with our hands, we realise them with our heads. The nose and nasal canals are where smells are 'touched'. But, where do we 'realise' smells?
I wouldn't be suprised if children and animals regularly felt the scent over the entire head and down their necks, and into their bodies ... I suspect that all human adults, will be able to remember the time when the smell of a succulent meal, seemed to fill their whole body.
I would love parents to ask their four to ten-year-olds, (after the questions on breathing, sometime when they are cooking something delicious): "and when you smell, where do you feel it?" – "can you feel it in the back of your head, the top of your head or anywhere in your body?". And "is it a taste or a smell? or both?".
My ExperienceIn Body and Breathing i discussed the feeling that the breath permeates the whole body, filling it up to just under the skin, and then emptying out, a bit like a balloon. Smells are carried by the breat; the simplest logical conclusion any clear thinking hedgehog could make is that the smell goes where the breath goes, filling up the body to just under the skin.
I feel the smell goes where my breath goes – (and even if it's just my imagination, it's a wholesome feeling). The smell comes in filling me up to just under my skin. And this sensation is like a combination of tastes and smells.
I taste, savour and absorb the residue of the fresh new in-scent. I digest the in-smell and the sensation is that i savour the scent with my whole body. This may well be to some extent a memory or impression – but to argue it scientifically: we know that the 'goodness' in the air we breathe, goes to the lungs where it's absorbed by the heart and circulated around the body in blood, and this 'goodness' is then absorbed by the surrounding tissue, by the cells.
No hedgehog could figure out all the science. From a hedgehog's perspective, they taste and digest the scents, and then they are conscious of it with their whole body. And as far as I'm concerned this is the truth, until it is disproved by science, common sense, or a consensus of opinion from children.
Smelling is the Active Ingredient of BreathingAlone, whole body breathing gives me a feeling something like a bag, a sheet of skin getting smaller and bigger. And this intimate experience of breathing with it's in - out routine, has consequences on our understanding of life, it tends to stimulate abstract ideas about balances in terms of opposites, and circles of breath and life.
But when i start scenting smells, i feel i ingest and digest the smell. The experience of scenting and digesting is a vastly different process and experience of life and this has its own consequences for our understanding. The taste/smell confirms the impression made by the breathing of the shape of my body from the inside, and the inside skin sometimes starts fizzing, there is a sensation of vital life happening just under my skin. It reinforces the solid feeling of self identity in my body from the inside
Maybe i don't now the effects well enough to describe them, but it just feels alive and perhaps the ideas it generates are more about nourishment ... and smelling is the active ingredient of breathing.
Now –, any adult or group of adults could easily start kidding themselves about the effects of scenting like this, and i don't want to get involved in theories or anything unnatural, anything an innocent animal wouldn't feel ...
So, before i can write more, i really do need a group of parents who will question their children, to confirm my 'theories', and then please give feedback.
There are worlds still to discover ... i'm still experimenting. The world of smells and taste are far deeper and stranger than seeing and listening.
Sometime later, when you feel you have a secure feeling with a constant consciousness of the residual in-scent –, then, start noticing the out-taste in your mouth again. Notice how the warmth of the out-taste comes up in the central area and this seems to be directly from the belly. And now the in-smell is sensed everywhere else: in the upper head, sides and back of the head, neck and body. What a curious way of feeling the body ... is this how it feels to be a hedgehog?
Please continue with How to Doze Phase Three