Reach Out and Touch Someone – The Power of the Senses

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Touch seems to be as essential as sunlight. – Diane Ackerman

During the early years of Christianity, the practice of Laying on of Hands began. The practice remains part of the Pentecostal religion and it has to do with the transmissions of the Holy Spirit. I am not Pentecostal, but I have witnessed, first hand, the power of touching and being touched–the power of one person’s skin touching another.

I will not venture to say that every human touch is good. There are some very bad human touches and some touches simply feel bad. If a positive inner feeling is not attached to human touch, I do not believe that the touching has the same kind of balm as that with a positive feeling. But when we do care about other people and when we want them to experience our concern in a real and tangible way, the best method to express that concern is through a simple touch.

Someone ludicrous said that Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder. It was probably the same fool who said Time Heals All Wounds. Come one, now. If Time Heals All Wounds, it is because of the Absence within the time lapsed. Absence does NOT Make the Heart Grow Fonder. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Absence and its lack of touch and its lack of closeness is only effective in helping the heart forget. Absence is the best way that I know to become numb to another person and to quit caring at all.

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Great truths have always found a way to be expressed in little tales, and such is the fable of the Arab and the Camel. The camel, who was tired of sleeping outside in the cold, where the blowing sands stung his eyes, devised a plan to move inside the Arab’s tent, where things were more comfortable.

[71] ONE cold night, as an Arab sat in his tent, a Camel thrust the flap of the tent aside, and looked in.

“I pray thee, master,” he said, “let me put my head within the tent, for it is cold without.”

“By all means, and welcome,” said the Arab; and the Camel stretched his head into the tent.

“If I might but warm my neck, also,” he said, presently.

“Put your neck inside,” said the Arab. Soon the Camel, who had been turning his head from side to side, said again:—

“It will take but little more room if I put my fore legs within the tent. It is difficult standing without.”

“You may also put your fore legs within,” said the Arab, moving a little to make room, for the tent was very small.

“May I not stand wholly within?” asked the Camel, finally. “I keep the tent open by standing as I do.”

“Yes, yes,” said the Arab. “I will have pity on you as well as on myself. Come wholly inside.”

As Translated at the Baldwin Project [an excellent resource for simplified literature] Here

The Camel ultimately took over the tent completely and that is an example of the ability of closeness to become evil, but for now, I am merely talking about the fact that closeness connects.

In The Little Prince, the Fox speaks of the bond that is part of connecting. He refers to the connection as being tamed:

“Come and play with me,” proposed the little prince. “I am so unhappy.”

“I cannot play with you,” the fox said. “I am not tamed.”

“Ah! Please excuse me,” said the little prince.

But, after some thought, he added:

“What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“You do not live here,” said the fox. “What is it that you are looking for?”

“I am looking for men,” said the little prince. “What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“Men,” said the fox. “They have guns, and they hunt. It is very disturbing. They also raise chickens. These are their only interests. Are you looking for chickens?”

“No,” said the little prince. “I am looking for friends. What does that mean–‘tame’?”

“It is an act too often neglected,” said the fox. It means to establish ties.”

“‘To establish ties’?”

“Just that,” said the fox. “To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world . . .”

“I am beginning to understand,” said the little prince. “There is a flower . . . I think that she has tamed me . . .”

Again, absence does not make the heart grow fonder–closeness makes the heart grow fonder, and when closeness is combined with caring, human touch, the circuit is completed.

I am a sensory person. I have powerful responses to music and other sounds. Smells have the ability to transport me to all sorts of times and places. I am a painter and I am an especially visual person.  But I have to conclude by saying that the most electrifying sensory available to mankind is that of a caring, human touch.

The Power of Touch

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