Push, Play & Pray #4
Engaging our Sense of Smell
Today’s prayers use our sense of smell as we push, play and pray. We’ll be involving our sense of smell to prayerfully bring calm into our daily lives.
Praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! The Father is a merciful God, who always gives us comfort. He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble. We share in the terrible sufferings of Christ, but also in the wonderful comfort he gives. We suffer in the hope that you will be comforted and saved. And because we are comforted, you will also be comforted, as you patiently endure suffering like ours.
2 Corinthians 1:3-6
The sense of smell is arguably our most powerful sense. We often experience an immediate physical response when we smell something we like or dislike. Smell a delicious dinner cooking and we might feel hungry, go past a rubbish dump on a hot day and we might feel nauseous.
We can also experience more than a physical response as a reaction to smell. Our senses share the same neural pathways to our brains as our emotions. Like a well travelled road, our repetitive sensory experiences code our brains. Smell can trigger memories, transporting us to times and places we may have forgotten. This in turn can cause an emotional response often surprising us in the intensity of feeling.
Our primary survival mode of feeling safe, can be both affirmed or alarmed by our sense of smell. The smell of danger or of comfort will be different for each of us, depending on our prior life experiences. Two people can smell the same fragrance at the same time and have completely different physical and emotional responses. The sensory information provided by our sense of smell can override our current thoughts and our present circumstances. A smell of danger alerts us into a heightened state of action, while a smell we associate with calming can help make us feel relaxed.
It’s almost like a super power to be able to identify and purposely use our own sensory preferences for smell. Once we know the smells that work for us we have tools to help our brains and our bodies respond to our daily challenges. There are are many therapy products around which incorporate a sense of smell. Some products or essential oils are promoted as an aid for a specific purpose such as helping sleeplessness or nausea. Personally, I’d suggest avoiding the recommendations of a particular smell having a prescribed physical response. Instead, I’d encourage you to find smells that you personally like, then figure out what effect they have on you and where you could best use these smells to help in your own daily living.
Our spiritual lives can also benefit from our sense of smell. Today we have ideas for two different prayers, using two different kinds of fragrant dough. Our focus for our prayers today is to find calm and comfort. The world is still experiencing so many challenges and these prayers offer a respite from the noise and a way connect to God in trying times. We’re combining a personal preference for smell with the proprioceptive sense. Praying with the combination of these two senses together provides us with strong sensory prayer tools. I’ve provided ideas for how you can curate these prayers to your personal sensory preferences. Like all the other prayers in this series, we’re making use of the pushing and playing to aid our praying.
May you find calm in your playing and praying
On the journey
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