A couple of weeks ago I watched an interesting documentary on TV about horses – how they have evolved over millennia and yet retained their age-old instincts; how their sensitivity and intelligence serve them in their contact with us. I imagine that many people accept that animals ‘pick-up’ on our feelings and react to us according to what the animal senses. It was interesting to hear the word ‘scanning’ used to describe this ability to sense felings and intentions. It occurred to me that ‘scanning’ is a good way to describe how we use our senses to assess the people we meet, just as animals do. This can be looked on as a first line of defence. I imagine that all living creatures have some form of scanning ability; using their particular senses to determine what is around them.
Scanning and copying! In this technological age we all understand those terms and so it may help us to understand how we use our senses. A simple example would be meeting someone for the first time. Our scanning sense would be on alert, so as to scan and copy the mood of this new person and more importantly, their overall attitude to life. This copy transfers on to us and so allows us to read the mental and emotional state of this person, through our own mind and body. In other words, it is not reading another person at a distance; it is reading what is within ones self. The more experience of life we have, the wider the range of emotions we can understand. If we do not like the feelings and sensations copied, we pull away from that person just as a horse shies away from someone it does not trust. If however those feelings are compatible with our own, we move comfortably towards that person. Years ago I met an Indian woman scientist at a conference and though we only had a short time to chat and discuss ideas, we nevertheless hugged each other when we parted, as though we were sisters. This demonstrated how open to each other we were; sensing that our inner qualities as women, were the same.
On the other hand there was an occasion when I experienced the very opposite. A man came to see me and although he seemed very quiet and pleasant, he gave me with the most unpleasant twelve hours of my life. This was in the early days of my unfolding quest for knowledge and understanding and I was baffled to find myself in the blackest of moods, questioning all I held dear; my deepest convictions and allegiances. For several hours I strove to understand and finally came to the conclusion that this man had somehow attracted some very dark forces which had been further copied on to me. I struggled for hours to reason and lift away out from this blackness. It was years before I realised that the darkness was within the man himself; his very negative attitude to life: his obsessions, distrust, and suspicions; he used people without considering their needs or wishes. He trusted no-one; this was his way of life.
We can see how a better understanding of our human senses is necessary if we are to withstand the influences of people like this man. He is not an exception, far from it! It is sad but human behaviour is mostly controled by an element of fear. Many of the factors that controlled peoples’ behaviour in the past have gone; religion no longer provides the guidance that it once did and the community no longer acts as a control. Among the huge changes in our society experienced over the last thirty years in particular, we have allowed children to take control and until we reverse this situation, society will continue in a downward spiral. Children are especially vulnerable to influence and if we are to safeguard their and our future, we should try and understand the range of our human senses and the part they play in our everyday lives.