Although this is a counterculture saying from the 60’s – turn on, tune in, drop out– it is still a helpful cue to retreat and restore ourselves in current times. Turn on by making the time to do what stimulates your feeling of connection and aliveness. Tune in by becoming aware of your body-mind habits and patterns. Drop out by removing yourself from stressors that overwhelm your senses so that you can simple rest and be. This is how you find your sensory retreat.


First, by getting curious about what makes you feel alive and giving yourself the time and space to follow that curiosity (as you are by reading this). Second, by bringing your awareness to the senses, so they are not just a background noise or unconscious urges but are at the forefront of your present experience. And third, by becoming familiar with the pervading feeling underneath, dropping beneath the noise of the mind and sensory inputs to simply experience being.


Take a moment after you read each sensory cue. Pause. Close your eyes. And tune in.


Touch… Notice the sensations on your skin, perhaps the pressure of the seat beneath you, the texture clothes you’re wearing, the temperature of the air.


Taste… Notice the sensations, textures and tastes in your mouth, swirl your tongue around your teeth, gums, cheeks, hard palate and soft palate.


Sight… Notice the sensation of light and dark, tone, texture, colour and pattern behind your closed eye lids.


Smell… Notice the subtle scent in the air, perhaps the smell of the room, your perfume, your clothes, your cup of tea.


Sound… Notice the symphony of sound all around you from the gross to the subtle, perhaps the rustling of the leaves, your cat purring, the fridge humming.


Now, have you noticed that in doing this little exercise that you were no longer thinking about anything else? Perhaps you were interrupted or not fully present, even so, this exercise can become a practise that you do every day to help you drop out of your regular doing. The senses are not the place of retreat, we know this because we may often experience negative associations with them. The senses are, however, a tool to slow down and hone our awareness of being.


There are many ways and tools available to find a retreat when we need it. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed then please pause and give yourself a moment to just be. Follow the link to our latest FREE MEDITATION to become aware of the subtleties of the senses and the aliveness beneath them all. Pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses, is like a fish becoming aware of the life sustaining water it lives in. Turn on, tune in, drop out.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.