the senses
What a Single Life Saver Candy Can Reveal to You About Your Body and the Senses.

You might have heard of a mindfulness exercise in which one is encouraged to eat a raisin mindfully. The entire process; holding the raisin, losing at it, the feeling of it in your mouth, and of course the taste, are treated deliberately as a means of bringing your full attention to the experience of something we might otherwise consider insignificant.

I was reminded of this practice this morning by Gretchen Rubin as she described a little experiment she did on the connection between the senses of taste and smell:

…To test this, I told my daughters, “Pinch your nose, shut your eyes, and put a Life Saver in your mouth without looking at it.” I did the same. The candy tasted the way it usually did, I thought, with an intense general sweetness.

“Now let go of your nose,” I said. When I started to breathe normally, flavor flooded into my mouth. Before, I realized, I’d tasted mere sweetness. Now that I could smell, the Life Saver’s flavor became much more complex and distinct.

We take so much of our sensory experience for granted as we go about our busy lives, so a reminder to stop and appreciate the “little things” is always welcome.