One of the yoga mehlas (celebrations) last week included an experience of the five senses (with sight being last). The most striking thing about the experience was how heightened the other senses are when we have our eyes closed but are fully awake. Particularly the taste of the chocolate provided was divine.
I had another experience of the five senses during our hike yesterday morning. First, I had to slow down to appreciate what was happening around me – things that I might not see in my normal pace of life rushing from one thing to another. I started picking up on how attuned our guide was to the sounds of the birds, monkeys and insects. He would stop suddenly, looking for some unseen critter that the rest of us wouldn’t have known was there if he hadn’t heard it. In this manner we managed to find not only lots of vocal howler monkeys, but also the less boisterous spider and squirrel monkeys – neither of which I have seen in the wild before today, as well as a variety of birds.
In addition to his keen hearing, our guide managed to find tiny frogs hiding under leaves, and well camouflaged crawfish in the river. The experience appealed to our senses of taste and smell when the guide demonstrated some of the medicinal saps from various trees, tested the ripeness of some fig fruits found along the way, and we enjoyed the perfumes of the many varieties of flowering trees and bushes. Finally, our sense of touch was stimulated by the softness of the fluff around the seeds from one of the local tress, and then when we leapt into the cool pools at the waterfalls we came upon in the river. The water was refreshing and delight against our sun-kissed skin.
Our guide shared a wealth of information about the flora and fauna in the area, and I was impressed by his ability to detect even the most hidden treasures around us throughout the jungle walk. The experience was a reminder to slow down and take in the wonders and beauty of nature here in wild Costa Rica. A lesson that I can take home with me to Colorado.