by Rev Reingard Knausenberger
What underlies the basic human existential need to be seen, to be heard, to be touched?
We are born into this world, which is a sensual world. The body we receive as our own is a finely-tuned sense organisation. Like buds opening, the chorus of twelve sense organs unfolds as the child’s body grows, the youth’s soul expands and the adult awakens evermore into unique selfhood. Our senses are the doorways which open us to engage and interact with the world around us. By nature, every human being is a sensualist.
The world-view of Sensualism as a philosophy, on the other hand, sees the human being purely as a sensual being and takes this view very seriously, sometimes to the extreme. Although the philosophy has many aspects and complexities, its basic parameter is clear:
‘I and the world are only the result of our sensory experiences’.
A sensualist in this way experiences their own senses so strongly that there can be no consideration of the world conveying anything ‘objective’. Everything is there only because of my senses.
Here it becomes clear how restrictive and exclusive a world view can become if it is declared to be the one and only valid one, but also how its contribution is highlighted, enhanced and enriched if experienced within the wholeness of the twelve world views.
It is through our senses that we ‘make sense’ of the world, they bring the light of meaning and warmth of fulfilment into our life, therefore becoming the basis for self-awareness and developing consciousness of being a Self. They are the central base from which we reach out and develop relationships with the periphery.
Christianity is the “the belief, that loves the earth” (as an inspired book title said). That means this earth which we can see, touch, feel, hear…the earth is made to meet all of our senses, our senses are there to meet the world. No wonder that the Gospels are full of everyday images, no wonder that the Creator came into his creation to teach us the full potential of our sense organisation. ‘A sower went out to sow his seed…’, depending on how we look, listen, come into an exchange with the earth and each other, our separateness is overcome and we are released out of isolation into a new enriched connectedness. When Jesus calls the children to be brought to him, speaks and touches them, how would he have looked at them, spoken to them? What would have remained in these children that touched their core, never to be forgotten again; what kind of affirmation of their being would he have given through this encounter? In this we have an expression of the gesture that emanates from Christ continually even today: Come. I see you. I hear you. Let your heart be touched by me.
The spiritual world always ‘sees’ us, but it is through the new spiritual Coming closer of Christ in our time, that human beings today are sensitised to the fact that the physical senses can be transformed into spiritual senses. Therefore, a deeper longing for ‘being seen and heard and embraced for who I am’ is awakened in us. Maybe it is also Christ who has this same longing towards us, too? Our sensual nature defines separateness, and yet it can also create connectedness and lasting relationship.
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