Sensory Buddhas

Posted by on Sep 19, 2012


We,  humans, are sensory beings! There is no way around it. No matter what we are doing, however zen and meditative we are, no matter where we are….. we are constantly being bombarded by sensory inputs. Now if we have a nervous system that functions optimally then we can dampen some sensory inputs and heighten others so that we can function independently and successfully. For many of the children that I work with, this filter does not work in the same way and there is a constant stream of high intensity sensation coming into the body and mind at all times. As you can try to imagine, this could be very overwhelming at times.

Over the summer I had the opportunity to work some amazing kids in a more intimate home/community setting than during the school year. While these kids were all very different ages, had various disabilities and abilities, and belonged to different cultures and communities, what was so powerful and remarkable to me was that they all inspired me and taught me in a similar way. They each were their own SENSORY BUDDHA. And what I mean by this is that they each sat beautifully and wholly in their own sensory-based world. They each had developed ways and methods for modulating that sensory input because our minds are amazing at getting whay they need and finding a way to modulate what they don’t need.

What I was, again, amazed at by working with these children is that they live in the present. They live what they feel, smell, touch, hear, taste, and see. They are not bogged down by the past or weighted down with anticipation of the future. They wonderously live what they feel…. at that moment. And while it is true that it may be challenging to fit them into “the mold” of our neurotypical world, perhaps that is my limitation and not theirs? These children teach me so much about being present in the experience at hand. Couldn’t we all use a lot less of living in the past and anticipating the future? Perhaps we can try to move towards these souls that experience each moment fully for the joys or sorrows, challenges or successes, and sensations it brings. This is a gift to me from these children.