Monday, April 16, 2018

The Twelve Senses

Twelve elementals: Heh, Vav, Zayin, Chet, Tet, Yod, Lamed, Nun, Samekh, Ayin, Tzaddi, Qoph.  Their foundation is speech, thought, motion, sight, hearing, action, coition, smell, sleep, anger, taste, laughter.

Sefer Yetzirah 5:1, Gra Version

As many practitioners know there are numerous benefits to memorising the Tree of Life and imprinting it within your mind as a model for thinking with, similar to the benefits of extensive mind-mapping but without the advantages of unification and centralisation that come with QBL.  While learning and mastering the QBL most serious attempts will result in improved cognition, lateral thinking, speed of referencing, long term memory retrieval, reflexes etc and therefore creativity (at the minimum).  In the study of the later parts of the Sefer Yetzirah (Gra Version) I took pains to ''calibrate'' the Twelve Kingships of the Twelve Simple Letters, separate them out from the tangled mess/noise that makes up the typical consciousness and understand these as individual threads within it. Practically I would focus on each Kingship for a month, i.e. focus on my anger for a month, my action, my sleep etc and through practical work learn more about and grow to more fully understand these faculties of my being.



Although I had done the work and fine-tuned (to a greater or lesser extent) my anger, my laughter, my sleep, etc I had not considered them all as senses until I was reflecting on these kingships the other day with friends and students.  We typically learn five senses but some of those senses contain a mixture of different senses which are bundled up as one because they share a common location (e.g. the ears), and there are other Kingships that may be senses but that we label as something different. The premise of the idea of twelve senses is that we falsely distinguish between senses, emotions and thought when we would be better to think of all of these faculties as senses and in thinking exercises (reflecting, meditating, contemplating) along these lines they will, very much like the cognitive benefits from other Tree of Life, spring into existence - no longer bound by the ''propaganda'' of the five senses, we will experience the full truth of having twelve.

  • Speech - sense of tone, it is possible for me to raise my voice aggressively and for people to sense the tone (not just the volume) and have physical responses, similar to the effect a calming quiet voice has on the mind (see ASMR)
  • Thought - we generally take more credit for our thoughts than we should, most (if not all) thoughts arise as result of external stimuli, anxious thoughts before performance, desire based thoughts when looking at something you love, want, crave*, temp goes up you ''think'' I am hot, or by God its hot! etc
  • Motion - sense of movement, dizziness, nausea, the feeling of still being on a rollercoaster when you leave, although this sense is centred in the ears (working by means of tiny hairs sensitivity to the rocking motion of fluid in the ears) it should be distinguished from hearing
  • Sight - is a sense, we can elevate this to ''vision'', we can transform looking into watching or seeing
  • Hearing - is a sense; we can elevate this from hearing (passive) to listening (active)
  • Action - note we do not have the sense of touch on the list, the sense of action could be considered the resistance of substances to our actions, i.e. pressure, pain 
  • Coition - arousal, often confused with emotions but the reality is that physical stimulation, the movement of a bus you happen to be riding on, etc can cause arousal alongside the sense object of a desirable body
  • Smell - is a sense - in terms of its position on the list, it might be worth considering how much smell affects arousal
  • Sleep - sense of our own fatigue/exhaustion, experienced as aches, pains, etc
  • Anger - underneath anger lies the flight/fight response which is a sensory response to perceived danger 
  • Taste - is a sense which we elevate to ''artistic taste'' but which is a sensory response to grotesque and disgusting things, we can taste the air as much as smell it 
  • Laughter - sense of humour (!) its funny that sense of humour appears after taste and anger as these two prior senses are very much wrapped up in laughter - whether it be fart jokes, or laughing at people falling over, the roots of laughter are in fear, anger and disgust, and again laughter can be calibrated and cultivated




*The origin of most of my metaphysical thinking can be seen as (at heart) a sensory response to the infinity of space and the scattering of stars therein. Do all such chains of thought have a sense object at their origin?

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