Why do we say “coming to our senses”?
Likely because there is a sanity we can find by literally coming to our senses, and people throughout time have noticed it and found the expression useful and insightful.
GOING OUT OF OUR SENSES
We inflict suffering and discomfort on ourselves by going into fantasies and taking them as true. We imagine a painful past, a scary future, something uncomfortable happening somewhere else. We even put a layer of interpretation on what’s right here.
Right now, I am sitting in a quiet room with sunlight through the window, a candle on the table, and a cup of warm tea. And I can imagine painful past experiences and childhood. I can imagine something terrible happening in the future. I imagine others living a better and more happy and fulfilling life. And I can imagine that all of those imaginations are real and true and define who I am, and I can get lost in all of it.
COMING TO MY SENSES
Instead, I can come to my senses. I can notice the room I am in. The textures, colors, flickering light, smells, the sensation of my legs on the seat and my feet on the floor.
I can notice what’s here in my senses. I can notice what’s here in my imagination. And I can notice the difference between the two. I can notice that what’s here in my mental field is literally imagination. It’s a collection of labels, interpretations, stories, and so on. It’s full of questions about the world. It’s not reality itself. (Although it can become a reality for me if I get lost in it.) None of it is a final, full, or absolute truth. Reality is always different from and more than my imaginations.
That brings a kind of sanity. It helps me ground in what’s here. It helps release charge out of the imaginations.
EXPLORING IT MORE THOROUGHLY
And it may help to investigate this more thoroughly. I can explore what’s in each of my sense fields and how my mental field creates an overlay of labels, stories, and so on, and how those are all questions about the world to help me orient and navigate. They are not anything more. I can also investigate specific stories more thoroughly and find what’s already more true for me (and more peaceful).
THE WISDOM IN COMMON SAYINGS
There is something a lot of wisdom in common expressions.
In this case, “coming to our senses” is a direct pointer to how we can ground, find more sanity, and be more kind to ourselves and others.Read More