Have you ever heard of synesthesia? There is a small percentage of people who perceive their world in a unique way. They combine different senses at a time. For example, when your read this, you may see the words as black print on the page. Some see a different color for each letter. Another example might be seeing colors when one hears sounds.
There are many combinations that senses can be combined. Synesthesia allows people who see the world this way to find unique patterns and make connections that others may not be able to. Since 2018 is the “Year of the Mind” for me, I’m playing with these concepts.
I’m trying to train myself to be able to combine different sensations together. You might be asking yourself why I would want to do this. Well, it turns out this can be a hugely valuable tool for memory and overall brain function. Memory is most effective when we use all of our senses. This allows people to see patterns and connections they may not be able to.
There are different theories on why a small percentage of people have synesthesia. There are hypotheses that it could be genetic, the immune system developing with the brain might cause this, and hyperactive serotonin. Some people develop this after using psychotropic drugs such as LSD.
I have decided to include this into all the rigorous mind training I’m doing this year. Because it fits seamlessly with the mind training, it has been easier to incorporate than if I had been trying this months ago before I started.
It’s helping my palpation skills as an osteopathic physician. When I put my hands on a patient, I pay attention to how things feel and I’ve always done that. But now I ask myself what the movement under my hands may sound like, I imagine colors and sound with movement and feel, and I sometimes ask myself what that sensation smells or tastes like.
I’ve only been playing with this concept for a few days but I can feel having my whole body much more engaged during the treatment. It’s activating parts of my mind that I was not before and it’s fun. It’s an activity in engaging all the senses. Imagining different ways that they may tie into each other. The more one imagines and practices, the more the brain makes the connections associated with it.
I invite you to try it. Even if all you’re doing is imaging in your head. When you listen to music, imagine what colors may be associated with that music. Use all your senses. This is a great way to wake up your senses because you have to focus in a way that you may not have before.
Let the world be your playground. Be consistent and play with it. I would love to hear what kinds of successes and even just ways that some people achieve with this. It takes practice, but it’s fun.