Twelve Senses Introduction

The foundations of sensory development are laid down in the first seven years of life and have a direct influence on the growing child’s ability to develop attention, attachment, and self- regulation: capacities essential for formal education. The senses inform us about the physical world. And at the same time, the senses inform us about ourself; we can learn what makes our body healthy and unhealthy. Through our sensory system we take in the world and learn what we need to do to be able to be a part of the world, to develop an ability to share parts of ourself and to experience another. 

Touch Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

When we touch something or something touches us, we discover where we end and where the something (or someone) begins. The touch sense makes us aware of what is outside of ourself and also what is inside of ourself. This subtle duality is the first recognition that we have an inner life within our physical being. It leads us to be able to refer to ourself as “I” which happens at about two to three years old. The touch sense conveys pressure against our skin, from the outer world. It is experienced by the fine mechano-receptors in the skin. Different receptors measure warmth and pain. The experiences of touch we receive builds an inner library that we use to understand boundaries. Through the experience of my boundary against another boundary I come back to myself and become aware of the other. Touch is both a uniting and a separating at the same time.

Life /Wellbeing Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

The life sense helps to keep us safe, well and in harmony. Through the sense of life, we perceive inwardly our vitality and life forces. For example it tells us when we need to go to the toilet, when something’s hot and when we need to drink. It  also tells us about our health and wellbeing.

Movement Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

The movement sense makes us aware of how our inner movement can change when we move a particular body part, and how we can abstain from movement despite feeling an inner movement or desire to move.

Balance Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

The sense of balance is the experience of being in harmony. The balance sense perceives our relation to the external spatial world. Based on our perception, we adjust our balance. When someone moves closer to us we inwardly and externally adjust ourselves to maintain a state of harmony. By experiencing equilibrium in our physical body, we have an inner experience in our feeling life. This helps the sense of balance to mature and grow a relationship to inner harmony in our whole being.

Smell Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

There are what is called four middle senses (of the twelve senses) and they are – smell, taste, sight and warmth. They all help us relate more deeply with the world. The first four senses (the lower senses) help us to relate to our own body. And the ‘higher senses’ relate us to other human beings.

The sense of smell is the first of the four middle senses and the first sense that takes us outside ourselves; we relate to the environment through this sense. With the sense of smell we come into contact with the external world. When we smell we are brought into close contact with matter through the gaseous or airy medium.

When the sense of smell is matured we are taking in the environment and learning about it without placing our opinions  or our feelings upon it.

Taste Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

The taste sense is a connection between the inner and outer world. Because of this maturing individual relationship to the smorgasbord life has to offer, the nine to eleven year old child can become more open to the world. In relationship to food they may open up to new flavours or even reject flavours they have enjoyed all their life.

Along with the development of the taste buds the child may also become aware of new feeling life experiences. The matured taste sense allows us to have a refined individual experience of how we ‘taste’ the world.

Sight Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

The sight sense is connected to the movement sense; it helps to distinguish between what is being seen and where it is in space. A small child has an inner experience of everything they see. The impression is left within them. The distinction that happens at maturity is the ability to differentiate between the images that are on the outside and those on the inside. The ability to filter external sensory impressions and be able to discern that what we are looking at is outside of us, means we are not inundated by the images.

Through the sight sense our eyes stretch forth their vision like a pair of arms extending and grasping perception.

Warmth Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

The sense of warmth is concentrated in the heart of the human being. With warmth we are participating with what is within the object perceived. When we hold ice we come to know that it is cold through and through not only because of the boundaries of our skin but also because we experience the cold within.

Hearing Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

The hearing sense perceives the sounding element and reveals intimate knowledge of the nature of something. The nine year old starts to experience things more deeply and can take an interest in music, though this is most often connected to what is around them. It is from about fourteen years old we can crave a connection to hear the nature of something else, and we start to relate to particular genres of music or artists that have a similar resonance to our own, or that give a mood-altering resonance. It may be obvious from early in life when a person is ‘musically gifted’. Yet the capacity to hear the other without judgment or pain is part of the process of maturation that can vary greatly depending on how the person was influenced as a young child in their sensitivity to listen.

Word Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

The sense of word is to perceive the being of language as a vehicle formed by the thoughts of another human being. We perceive and make connections to words, differentiated from other sounds. The way we perceive words has a particular relationship to the development and sensitivity of the sight sense and the movement sense. Typically between sixteen and seventeen years old, we notice a greater ability to filter what is intended for ourself, and the relevance of things to ourself. This contributes to being able to recognise archetypes in communication and only connect with what is relevant to us, without being as affected by someone else’s direction or mood.

Thought Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

We understand the meaning behind what someone else is saying by using our thought sense. The thought sense starts to mature in the late teens, early twenties and helps us understand the essence of what we are studying and of those teaching us. When reading, listening or viewing something we use the thought sense to relate to the thought living behind the language. It follows on from what has been perceived through the sense of word. To be able to follow someone else’s thinking, we unite ourselves with the rhythm of the other, perceived through the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system. The matured sense of thought allows us to perceive the thought of the other and keep our own thoughts.

‘I’ Sense

The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.

The ‘I’ sense is the sense of perceiving the individuality of another; to truly sense there is another human being present rather than only relating to their persona and conditioning. Despite a person’s race, sex, gender, religion, social status and culture there is an ‘I’ being that is not those things. Sensing the ‘I’ of the other is important for healthy relationships; in fact, we start to develop a sense about a new human being while they are in utero.

We can usually see this sense developing when we start standing up for our individuality in the late teens, early twenties. Whether or not it matures fully, depends significantly on the maturity of all the other senses which together develop the capacity to be in a place within ourselves that does not judge or have a preference, but can truly meet the other. Without effort, it may come and go and be more like a gifted moment of perception.