We are now going to begin to increase our awareness of our physical surroundings. We will engage four of our senses (sight, sound, smell, touch) in becoming aware of our physical surroundings.


Again, we’re going to use the same form of standard meditation practice. Get yourself into a relaxed state where you’ll be uninterrupted for a period. Breathe in and exhale, find yourself comfortable.

Now we’re going to move our awareness to what’s occurring around us by engaging some of our other senses. We might be sitting at our office desk with our door closed and we hear the neighbour with a chainsaw or a leaf blower. So we’ve engaged our hearing and it’s external. Nothing to do; just observing what we’re hearing. It might be that you can smell something in the oven and it’s delightful. It might be there’s a gentle breeze and you can feel it on your face. You might be hear something scratching at the door. Because you’re now calm and are experiencing heightened awareness, it might be an insect that you wouldn’t previously had heard.

My senses are a little more heightened generally as a function of my martial arts practice. For many years, we trained to develop this external awareness capacity and it’s often termed as situational awareness.

We’re engaging all of our senses to the external environment and learning to identify what’s not normal. It might be in the corner of our eyes, some movement. That’s not what our awareness was expecting, which requires some attention. It might be that someone across the street, whom we’re not even engaging with, is displaying body language that’s not normal and requires our attention.

Similarly, here we are just sitting and listening for physical expressions. It might be hard to describe them as not normal, like a breeze on your face, but they are sensations that your senses pick up that have a distinct character. It’s just expanding your awareness to take in all the things around you.