Monday, December 19, 2011

The Other Senses

There has been much talk over the years of “the Sixth Sense.” In my past few blog entries (five, to be exact) I explored the five recognised senses known to Man and the Scientific community. However, the existence of the sixth sense is both contentious and compelling.

As a drummer, I have long been familiar and comfortable with the science of numbers; small numbers at least. Scientists have been able to explain weather patterns for generations, and how the moon’s gravity has an effect on our earthly tides, but when it comes to a sixth sense, science backs away, denies its existence, and then tries to justify the bad weather we got when fair weather was predicted. The trouble with science is, they are controlled by popular opinion and government funding.

The “sixth” sense is a slight misnomer at best. It is a blanket statement to describe a number of phenomena; from seeing ghostly apparitions, to “knowing” when one is not alone in a building or room, to “knowing” what the winning numbers will be in a lottery draw.

When my father was in the final stages of lung cancer, my older half-sister woke suddenly one night, (not a common occurrence I understand) to see what she described as our father standing at the foot of her bed, looking at her in a way she described as “longingly.” He said nothing, but just “stood” there, looking at her. When my mother called her the next day, she was not surprised. Mom had called to tell my sister she should come home immediately because it was doubtful Dad would live much longer. My sister came home, spent some time with Dad, and then went back to her husband and children in Ontario. Dad died about three weeks later.

Science would dismiss that as coincidence, yet if scientists were to be as totally analytical and dismissive as they try to appear, they would not even believe in coincidence, since that cannot be quantified either.

A little more than a year after Dad’s death, I was doing some cleaning up in the yard of the house I was renting, and noticed the clouds moving in the sky across the valley. As I watched, I saw the clouds come together and create a formation that resembled Dad’s face. Then the clouds moved slightly, and Dad smiled. Coincidence? Or communication from the other side? Some, perhaps most, reading this will opt to say coincidence, but in my heart I believe Dad came by to say hello.
While on tour in my musical career, I have often been in towns and cities that are unfamiliar to me. Sometimes, I would walk to unwind, and occasionally I would find myself in a neighbourhood that `felt` uncomfortable. Later, someone who lived in that town or city would verify I had been in area where many acts of crime had been committed. There was no way I could tell that these neighbourhoods were questionable, yet something made me sense it was not a good place to be. A sixth sense?

In the same vein, there have been numerous recorded incidents where others, (as well as myself) have left a place, only to have something unpleasant occur shortly thereafter. “I got out just in time.” When asked why they left when they did, that answer can nearly always be paraphrased, “I don’t know, I just felt uncomfortable.” Is this a sixth sense at work?

Many people claim to be able to see into the future; they go by names such as Clairvoyants, psychics, Mediums… they also can see the spirits of the departed, or communicate with them. Often these are carnival attractions or back alley novelties, but there are also many documented cases that are legitimate. The late magician and escape artist Harry Houdini often tried to communicate with his dead mother, finally taking the stance that the Spiritualists were frauds and set about debunking them. After his passing, his wife Bess attempted to contact his spirit with varying, yet unsatisfactory results. Perhaps the most famous and successful Spiritualist to have lived to date is H.P. Blavatsky.

Quantum science tells us that nothing exists until we believe it. Can the spirits of the deceased communicate with the living? Can mortal humans see and predict the future? Can we know when things are about to go wrong? What do you think?

I think anything is possible if we open our minds to the possibilities.

~Still Wandering…

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Art of Touching.

Our sense of touch is a magnificent thing indeed. With it, we can tell the difference between hot and cold, sharp and dull, hard and soft; a myriad of textures.

A tradesman can identify objects simply by touch. A musician or painter often talks about the touch on the instrument or of brush on canvas. A touch can reassure; or cause injury. To a blind person, touch is everything. One phone company even coined the slogan, “Reach out and touch someone.”

Watch a baby. To an infant, learning about the world is an experience of touching; when a child encounters a new object or being, the first impression is to touch it. Children soon learn that fingers and toes operate quite differently, and while it is possible to curl one’s toes around an object and lift it, fingers work much better.

As we grow, we learn the joys of touching favoured objects; that special toy we treasure, the softness of a warm sweater, stroking a cat or dog during quiet moments. Sometimes, the same type of touch can have different meanings. A playful slap on the shoulder is quite different than an angry slap on the face.

I remember when my father passed away, after the funeral, everyone went back to our house for tea, coffee, and sandwiches. A friend of the family came to me to express her condolences. As she talked, she nonchalantly touched my arm, conveying sympathy, and friendship. It was a gesture that brought great comfort to me at a time of immense sorrow.

Throughout the years, our senses decline, yet for most of us, the sense of touch remains not only intact, but integral. Some of us however lose some of our sense of touch as well. Those of us who have used our hands extensively suffer nerve damage, reducing our ability to feel things the way we used to. Mechanics may not have the dexterity they once had. Those who sew, seamstresses and tailors, lose sensation in the tips of their fingers from repeated needle punctures. Arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, tendinitis, and many other afflictions reduce one’s ability to use one’s hands and fingers as in the past. Yet those awkward, injured, impaired hands can still offer compassion, support, love and hope to someone in need.

Go ahead, reach out; reach out and touch someone.

~Still Wandering…