While writing Awaiting Light—Understanding the Development of the Soul, I learned that there is a sixth sense: “The senses develop in staggered pairings (taste and touch, sight and smell, hearing and the sense of self [one’s boundaries])…”.
The sense of self is awareness of oneself separate from others, awareness of boundaries, and awareness of one’s body. An infant normally develops these awarenesses unless interference has occurred. Interference can be natural (such as complications during the birthing process or genetic causes) or unnatural (such as complications during the birthing process that are not related to natural birth, accident, or abuse).
The sense of self is connected to all the other senses: tasting one’s skin, touching oneself, seeing one’s body, smelling one’s body odor, and hearing one’s voice and the sounds emitted from one’s body and from using the body. An infant experiences these sense sensations and through the awareness of them and through maturation of the thinking process, comes to understand that there is a physical container for all these developments. The physical container is the baby’s body, and a baby delights in his or her development.
The sense of self has impact on future development. A baby who receives encouragement develops with strong sense of self. A baby who receives negativity often develops with skewed sense of self. The sense of self accompanies a person into adulthood and influences actions and decisions.
Here is an example of a person I have worked with: a woman in her 30s is battling excess weight. The struggle began when she was very young because she was a pudgy baby whose mother had weight issues. The mother related to her daughter’s size negatively, which affected the daughter and her sense of self.
The sense of self has physical and nonphysical elements. The physical elements are the sense organs that continuously feed information to the brain about the body and its boundaries, actions, and hurts (wounds, aches, pain). The nonphysical element is the emotional component of health: the feelings for the body, its actions, and its hurts. The feelings about bodily functioning include acceptance or disregard for normal bodily functioning, admiration or impatience for the body’s actions and abilities, and reasonable or overzealous focus on hurts.
The sense of self and the other senses create the feedback that people require to live and grow.
“Smells and sounds and textures and visual cues and taste bud activity provide interest to human life. And provide warnings. And provide information for storage. And notice for information retrieval. And input for reactions. And input for instigation of creativity. And awareness of outside interesting sensations and varieties. And wonders.” –from Pond a Connected Existence.