Do we experience love through the senses?


How can we experience anything without the senses? Aren't emotions such as love, bliss, etc. not experienced through the senses? If they weren't, how could we know they were happening?

—Brock, USA


In fact, we don’t experience true love, bliss, etc., through the physical senses. A simple mental experiment might demonstrate this to you: Imagine yourself in one of those sensory deprivation chambers that used to be popular – you are imperceptibly floating (not moving at all) in salt water, and you can’t see, hear, taste, smell, or even touch anything. No sensory input at all. Would you therefore be unable to think about and feel love for a loved one? No, you’d be better able to feel love, because the physical senses wouldn’t be clamoring for your attention as they usually do.

Yogis say that, far from being the conduits of love or bliss, the physical senses sometimes make it more difficult to experience true love, bliss, etc., because their relatively gross perceptions intrude on those finer perceptions.

That’s not to say that we need to cut off or do away with the senses. Rather, we need to “put them in their place” so they won’t control us. Spiritual teachings often liken them to wild horses that tend to drag us away from the more sublime experiences that come with spiritual development. Those horses need to be tamed, not killed — and that means taming, not the senses themselves, but rather our desire for sensory gratification. Then, and only then, can we truly enjoy even sense perceptions, not to mention finer perceptions.