Touches – the missing link to happiness
The beginning of the 21st century is characterised by the extraordinarily fast growth of information flow, which overloads the contemplative human brain. The increased density of people per square meter amplifies our need for solitude, closing-in and detachment; endless inflation forces us to work harder, without leaving any time for ourselves.
Moreover, there is an unusual, remarkable, and significant effect of the virtual world, which has invaded our daily lives. The virtual world takes away a large part of free time and opportunities to communicate with people in real life. Although it stimulates intelligence quite well, enables learning about the world, and even arouses emotions while we watch videos on ‘YouTube’, or enjoy photos of our loved ones on ‘Facebook’, we start chronically missing real, affectionate, sincere touch.
Opportunities and threats of the 21st century:
The density of the human population
The flow of information increasing at the speed of light
Accelerated cycles of economic change
Our values are directly affected, and as a result, there is a formation of new fundamental interrelationships, leading to a catastrophic disappearance of live, direct communication, as we work, communicate, talk and express our thoughts on screens, more often than we do in real life.
One of the oldest senses - touch, also known as the purest, and undoubtedly ancient, is an essential component of our happiness. Our sense of touch allows us to discover the world, feel the environment and ourselves, although, in our daily lives, it is often limited to our hands. Our whole body reacts to touch due to millions of years of mammalian evolution, when warm-blooded animals, to conserve heat (energy), began to nestle together. Firstly, this required confidence, because at any time, a cold-blooded reptile could devour its weaker or smaller relative, even a child.
Over millions of years, these pragmatic energy-saving touches transformed into a powerful system of feelings and emotions that allowed the development of the second layer of the brain – the limbic system. This part of the mammalian brain enables us to express love and feelings by using a gentle touch, touching the other, or just snuggling.
Our body feels what the eyes cannot see, and the ears cannot hear: things we call bio-fields, energy, inner knowing. It allows us to feel the levels of energy and emotions when we are touched. Touch can elevate us to such ecstatic heights, causing us to connect to the universe without even thinking about it; we fall into depths we never fantasised about.
Just like millions of years ago, to feel it all, we must fully trust those who touch us, relax, and disconnect from the new, firmly embedded taboos formed by ‘brain-civilisation’.
Over thousands of years, Tantra, Taoist and other teachings have continued to explore and improve systems for connecting the body, feelings and mind relaxation, enabling people to come closer to ‘god’. This may sound somewhat paradoxical, but that is the reality. A person, while touching and being touched, evolves: becomes ‘more human’, more tolerant and learns to share and comprehend information without words.
More sophisticated touch can even lead us to the state of nirvana, mindfulness and enlightenment.
And it's the easiest and shortest way to reach these heights.
Over the last few centuries, with growing numbers of people, and intelligence increasingly prevailing over wisdom, we are ever more reluctant to touch (perhaps only touch-sensitive screens), hug and be empathic. This is an evolutionary step backwards into the world of cold-blooded reptiles; the only difference is - the intellectual reptiles... If we do not wish to become robots or crocodiles, let us not forget to touch, cuddle and caress – gradually making it a norm.
Let us replace subconscious programming that restricts the display of feelings, and return back to old, forgotten, but essential, age-old teachings of touch, sensation, love, empathy, understanding and wisdom; which have unveiled their secrets in the era of information and have become accessible to all those who desire it.
In my practice of teaching people about personality change, wellbeing, efficiency, and the ability to be happy, I notice that less and less change can be caused by rational arguments, intellectual persuasion and enthusiastic motivation. Nevertheless, people are exceptionally sensitive and quickly react to stimuli that I offer through their own body sensations, caused by breathing and movement, meditation and touch techniques – acting directly via the body, bypassing the filters and barriers of consciousness.
Even a massage can somewhat revive such feelings and awaken the power in you, which would not be aroused by thousands of books, films, nor intelligent conversations. Not to mention the touch of loved ones – it can ‘raise one from the dead’. If the person whom we trust comes into contact with us, or even better, we feel affectionate towards them, a portion of happy hormones are released; thanks to which we relax, our pain is decreased, we feel more satisfied and better, our healing processes are accelerated, and we feel happy – regardless of where we are and how we feel.
One of the happiness hormones secreted when touching or hugging – oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, influences the ‘affectionate’ characteristics of humans: trust, love, generosity, care for others, empathy. Scientists have even found that if you genuinely hug four times a day and stay like this for just a few seconds, your happiness index can increase one and a half times. Children who are touched, caressed and carried develop significantly better, both physically and mentally. The ability of these children to adapt to rapid changes in living conditions can be twice as fast as of those who did not experience such affection.
The establishment of adult relationships is equally as important. A person touched in a timely and appropriate manner will quickly agree to interact with you and will remember you even after a more extended period; and only by chatting-up and exchanging a few phrases, you may be forgotten forever… Moreover, a person touched in an untimely and inappropriate manner will also never forget you, just not as you would like them to…
While teaching personal efficiency, I encounter several recurrent, common problems: increased introversion, lack of self-confidence – mainly related to the body, lack of joy in life, and a decreased need to communicate. I can genuinely say that this 21st-century problem is resolved very well when you deliberately return to a life of live communication, laughter, deliberate and unintentional, or premeditated touch. Our body needs it like water. We want to touch, but sometimes we dare not talk about your desires. Do you want to be truly happy?
Do not forget the simple things:
We want and need it to experience a real, full life, and to be happy!