The old adage stemming from the Oriental art of 'listening to incense', often confuses people - as they wonder how you can listen to something that essentially has no sound? Also if you cannot hear it with your ears ... then why did the Oriental term of 'listening to incense', become one of the highest qualities of this art?
One translation of the verb 'to listen' in Chinese - where the Japanese art of incense has some roots; actually more refers to observing ... becoming aware of, being mindful of ... watchful, giving your attention to. This would make very much sense then, that they would use this statement in reference to an experience of sitting with incense in meditation. Experiencing the energetics of the present moment, by tuning into the stillness that incense dances within
Look as awareness itself and you will recognise that you are before all beginnings and after all endings. You are before time itself.
This cannot be taught. It can only be known through intuitive insight.
Observe how it is to be when you are not waiting,
not expecting, when 'being' is enough
Dance of Phenomenality
Scent Moving the Body
We can begin to feel the effect scent has on our bodies - similar to that of music. It moves us emotionally, spiritually. It calms us very instantly due to the olfactory system being the most powerful and direct of all our senses, bypassing the tissues of the body and channeling directly to the brain. The ground plant essences that make up the incense, wisdom carried via scent, now interfacing directly with our motherboard ... listen ...
Ancient texts relate that the Pythia, sitting on a three-legged stool, chewed laurel leaves while inhaling vapours from burning herbs. Image: An Attic red-figure kylix from Vulci (Italy), 440-430 BC, depicting King Aigeus in front of the Pythia at the Oracle of Delphi. Wikimedia Commons.
In internal healing arts, we can turn our attention inwards, to listen to the body. Become aware of the subtle feelings, emotions and thought constructs flowing through our bodies ... in 'listening' (becoming aware) incense points to the profundity of this present moment, asking us to feel, to sense, to tune in ...
Antenna for the Subtle
As music affects the body on profound levels - transports the mind and senses to an otherworldly place. Or perhaps evokes a memory, a fantasy - that we may get blissfully lost in ... Yet can also help us shift out of a place of dis-ease, inspiring us to bring that dream to Earth. So listening to incense: witnessing the romantic dance of spirit in smoke form, its fragrance moving the body/mind in sensation. Moving out of stuck rigidity, moving into ease, into balance, naturalness ... re-tuning our frequency in this moment to become an antenna for the more subtle ... listening to incense offers to unfurl such insights in each of us