Stand (as you are able) near a wall or some other solid, steady object/surface. You will be relating to this surface/object with your body, sometimes with eyes open, sometimes with eyes closed.
Arrange your body so that it is as close to the wall or object as it can get without touching it. Try to shape your body in a way that every part of the side facing the surface is close to that surface. Now, first with your eyes closed, move a limb so that it skates the surface without touching it, and then bring that limb back to rest. Do this with another limb. Next, open your eyes and do the same motions, trying to stay close to the object’s surface without touching it. Finally, repeat the motions with your eyes closed once again.
- What are the different ways you felt your body in space, particularly in relation to the object you chose?
- What senses did you engage? Were there senses outside the five external senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste) we usually think of?
- How might we cultivate a close awareness of these other senses, including the suite of senses we call proprioception?
- How might this attention alter our relationships to the world, both physically and conceptually?
Note: we are privileging taking away sight as an external sense in this exercise in part because it is relatively easy to shut down by closing our eyes, but more importantly because the visual tends to be the most privileged sense in our cultural context and thus has a strong impact on how we relate to our physical selves.