Overall I felt the class that Andrew led was not only compelling, but also allowed each of us to pay closer attention to ourselves and how we relate to the world around us in terms of attention and sensation.
One of my favorite areas of discussion covered in class was the idea of communication and interaction with the world in terms of the left and right brain hemispheres. Most only use the side of language and association, we have grown up our whole lives thinking that the language we use is how everyone interprets the events and things that transpire around us, yet in reality for many of us our senses can be and are in tune with so many other things around us we just choose not to acknowledge it. The limits we have put on ourselves have truly dictated all parts of society and when individuals with autism approach the world in a different manor we see it as a negative, when perhaps what they are doing is more compelling, intelligent and sense driven then what the majority of society has fallen into. Perhaps we all need to take a lesson from those with other methods of communication and interpretation of the world and not simply allow our associations and preconceived notions take the best of our senses. This could allow the majority of people to be more aware of their senses and the mass amount of information that is thrown at us with every moment. Honing in on specific attentive sense will build onto the idea of how we as people communicate with each other and the world around us.
In going with this idea of sense attention and realization of the many things we still do not acknowledge, I really enjoyed the exercise Andrew did with us to get us out of the classroom and into the true environment around us. The somewhat derive format we took to have a sensory experience in a different way then we’re used to doing really allowed me to realize all the things I miss everyday. We’re all so consumed in our daily thoughts of the past and future we don’t pay attention to the present and all the information coming toward our senses. It is hard for us to truly only focus on one sense, such as touch, because we relate all 5 senses into one. For example, when we eat we don’t just focus on taste, but also appearance and texture, how might our lives change if we really tried to only pay attention to one sense at a time? Is that even really possible for many? Our walk and form of meditation in class allowed me to try and do this, but also see how hard it really is and without fail I could not stay in tune with only one sense more than about a minute or so.
The first student-facilitated class was a great start to truly trying to understand our senses and what is happening all around us at any given time. The discussion and time outside was meaningful in its ability for me to think more about what I usually brush off or have no awareness of.