It’s a phrase we’ve all heard, perhaps so much so that hearing it repeated across our lives has taken us past the point of listening to what is being asked of us, or understanding the simple wisdom at heart of its construction (and instruction).
‘Come to your senses’
From where? To what?
Well…like an ocean swimmer breaking the surface of the water after too long spent in the depths below, ‘come to your senses’ is an exhortation to leave the mind below (its ruminations and meanderings; its misdirections and stuckness) and return to the body and the universe it inhabits…from the internal to the external if you will.
This is where we focus on the world as it is (not as it was or will be)…where we connect to the moment, to the fabled here and now.
For the swimmer, coming to the surface represents taking those first deep (and wholly welcomed) life affirming breaths of fresh air…feeling the soothing warmth of sun on our face, tasting the metallic twist of salt on our tongues, hearing the gentle lapping of the water around us, seeing the transparent wonder of our bodies suspended in water, smelling the sharp marine aliveness of the seaweed drifting by…
For those of us more earth than water bound, coming to your senses means just that…letting go of thought (its negative predictions and numbing memories; its false fantasy trails or cruel prisons of doubt) and engaging with sensation…what being human and alive feels like (as opposed to what we may be feeling).
It’s a grounding technique, a mechanism for centering that is one of the unheralded foundations of mindfulness and an oft reworked mantra passed down from yogi to yogini, but it’s a wisdom more directly derived from our grandmothers from the Western Suburbs than any grandmaster from the mystic East.
It’s an explicit acknowledgment that at times thinking is overrated (and sometimes downright unhelpful). It’s a tacit understanding that at times feelings are best replaced (at least in the short term) by feel.
So come on, and ‘come to your senses’.
After all, it’s common sense…
About the Author
Robert is a nationally registered AHPRA Psychologist and a Full Member of both the Australian Psychological Society and the College of Sport and Exercise Psychologists. For more than a decade, Robert has worked extensively with professional athletes across all major codes in Australia including the NRL (where he has been a long standing consultant with a Sydney based club), the AFL and the A League.
Throughout this time, Robert has also widely consulted with elite and sub elite athletes (across a range of individual and group sports) who have successfully competed at both international and national level (including the Olympic Games, World, and National Championships). Robert has pioneered Sport and Performance Psychology programming and services across multiple settings, focusing on the wellbeing and mental skills development of athletes/performers. Robert runs MindField Sport Psychology and as a Positive Psychologist is a former licensee of the Happiness Institute.
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