Question on Sensuousness

Richard on the AFT site say “Sensuousness is the wondrous awareness of the marvel of being here now at this moment in time and this place in space.”

Is he saying one is awareness, and that being here now is a marvel or is he saying I am actively wondering at the marvel of being here and now?

Cause for me, the experience of sensuousness is that it happens here and now, but the attention is more on a visually stunning environment.

I am aware that it is happening here and now but I am not marveling at that, I am fully entertained at the largeness of all space around me and the visual stunning nature of the universe itself, which is happening here and now.

Idk the definition of sensuousness is a bit confusing to me, it seems very specific but I am not exactly sure what it means.

I assume you’ve already read this article:

The simple answer is that sensuousness is experiencing relating to the senses. But you are asking for what it is at a deeper level than that.

It’s helpful to think of it in terms of a spectrum.

Sensuousness is something you’re doing all the time, but when you get to states of hyper-clarity, surprising things start happening.

As ‘I’ get out of the way more and more, there is more and more attention being given to experiencing sensuously, there is more and more marveling, there is more and more wonder. They come together.

In Srinath’s excellent article on inducing PCEs, he points out the use of paying attention to the senses:

You want to make yourself a bit like a child, soft and relaxed. Tell yourself you are going to have a mini-holiday for a short time. Believe that it can happen, rather than thinking of it as some kind of ‘advanced’ thing that happens only to others. Adopt an attitude of openness and curiosity, of an intention to delight in your senses. See if you can notice any pleasurable feelings, if so relish and savour them. Do it in a really loose playful way. Whatever catches your interest go for that. Look at things with ‘the surface of your eyeballs’. Like your eyes are caressing, drinking, tasting the surfaces of whatever you encounter. You might start to notice a change in the atmosphere around you, notice this if so and see if you can enjoy it. If there is a feeling that you want to laugh, squeal or make noises then just allow yourself to do that as a kid would – might be hard if there are people around!

Notice that he talks about a couple different aspects: engaging with the senses, as well as things that ‘I’ can do to loosen up such as feeling openness and curiosity and delight. Wondering and marveling fall into this category: the more one wonders the more wonder-ful the world seems, the more one marvels the more marvel-ous the world appears, and all of this frees up space for more sensuous attention to occur.

With the view that sensuousness and enjoyment are on a spectrum, then it seems you are in a space where you are entertained, and stunned, but have not yet progressed to marvelling and wonder-ing. It’s simply next on the chain of enjoyment and delight.

Me-being-conscious is the same as awareness, so it’s fair to say that anything you do or are aware of is awareness (which is then filtered, translated, and evaluated through various levels of ‘being’)

Being here is a marvel when I experience being here as a marvel, and one can experience being here as a marvel via intentionally aiming to experience being here as a marvel.

It can take some practice to have success with that experiencing, but success builds on success and before you know it, it’s second nature to tap into marveling, delight, fascination, and all the rest.

And, gradually, life becomes more and more sensuously delightful.

By the way - a common mistake in actualism is trying to focus on the ‘sensuous’ in a dry way without bringing in delight or wonder or marvel or naivete (etc).

This is a mistake because while one may think that one is ‘being sensuous,’ that evaluation and translation by the senses is still happening (as Richard refers, ‘that is a hamburger, that is a tofu-burger… with all that that implies’ [paraphrasing]).

For sensuousness to be fully activated and the wonder of it all to become apparent, it’s essential for ‘me’ to get sufficiently out of the way.

Enjoyment, appreciation, wonder, naivete, harmlessness - and all the rest - serve to thin ‘me’ out to where the actual becomes apparent.

And the actual is inherently wonder-ful - ‘I’ no longer have to contribute anything for that the be the experience.


The latter is closer one! To unpack the way Richard put it…

  1. Sensousness is an awareness.
  2. What kind of awareness? A wondrous one.
  3. What is it an awareness of? An awareness of the marvel of being here now at this moment in time and this place in space.

That is to say – being here now at this moment in time and this place in space, is in and of itself intrinsically a marvel. An awareness of said marvel is a wondrous type of awareness.

It helped me to think of ‘sensuousness’ as more of a quality or type of ‘me’ being aware, as opposed to being a quality or type of sensing or way or manner in which the senses operate. It’s when ‘I’ am aware of what ‘I’ am seeing in a delighted/wondrous/thoroughly enjoying-of-the-senses manner. It doesn’t matter per se if what I am looking at is visually stunning… it’s about how ‘I’ am relating to what ‘I’ am seeing, not about what I am seeing per se.

Of course when I am wondrously aware in such a manner I am naturally drawn to visually appealing things (if what I am seeing is most appealing at the time), or gustatorily appealing things (if what I am tasting is most appealing at the time), etc…

I suggest to then find a way for yourself to wonder and marvel at that, as it will really ratchet up your enjoyment and appreciation! When being particularly sensuous at one point I was nearly overwhelmed at how delightful it was simply to exist, to the point where I even experienced the act of breathing as a ‘bonus’ of something to be doing to enjoy, on top of the fact that I was simply existing and being alive!

The key is that it is a way of experiencing where ‘I’ am wondering, marveling, at being here now, via delighting in the senses… the key is it’s about ‘me’ delighting and enjoying (as opposed to say ‘me’ trying to experience some heightened sensory awareness for the purpose of having a heightened sensory awareness in and of itself). The delight, wonder, marvel is the key…

… let me know if it helps!


Yes, it is. Thank you. So are you saying sensuousness is more of a way of being, that includes a variety of characteristics?

It includes characteristics of feeling happy and harmless, enjoying this moment, sensuous attention, wonder, marvel, attention to this moment in time and this place in space? All of those things in one definite thing?

One of my favorite pastimes is picking apart what Richard writes. There’s much to savor in the minutae. It’s as Claudiu said: Richard is describing “sensuousness” as being a particular sort of awareness. Looking again at what Richard wrote:

Richard: Sensuousness is the wondrous awareness of the marvel of being here now at this moment in time and this place in space.
Attentiveness And Sensuousness And Apperceptiveness

Removing a few extremities may help your comprehension:

  • Sensuousness is the wondrous awareness of the marvel of being here now at this moment in time and this place in space.

In short,

  • Sensuousness is the awareness of a marvel.
  • (The marvel of being here now.)

A marvel is an activity, thing, or event that evokes a reaction of wonderment, amazement, or astonishment. There’s a “Wow” factor.

Note the antonyms to marvel include “indifference” and “disregard.”


Further, there is a miraculous quality buried in the roots of that term.

Richard frequently alludes to miracles and magic in reference to life and existence. Magic not just as in grand or magnifcent, but magic as in abracadabra, i.e., magic tricks, i.e., prestidigitation. It is the witnessing – and sensitivity – to the magical and miraculous that, as a matter of course, evoke marvelment and wonder.

Richard: Those people who look for miracles of a paranormal nature little realise that they are overlooking the greatest ‘miracle’ that there possibly could be: the phenomenon that we are here. It is so stupendous to be able to be here at all that I have no other recourse than to use the expressive word ‘magical’ to describe marvellous facticity and felicity of physical existence. No alchemist or conjurer anywhere in the world can even begin to equal the wondrous prestidigitation required to be getting soil and water and sunlight to transform itself into a walking, talking human being. One can only marvel at the fact that this entire edifice called life-on-earth is actually happening at all. To take it for granted that we are here, or – even worse – to wish we were not, is to miss out on the ‘miracle’ of living fully in this magical, fairy tale-like paradisiacal wonderland that is this planet earth.
A Conversation With A Spiritual Teacher

In short, to be sensuous is to be witnessing miracles taking place before your very eyes.


Awesome, I really enjoyed all those posts, very helpful. Sensuousness was always the thing that clicked the least for me when reading the ASA article, this really clarified things tho in fact I’ve been experiencing sensuousness just now whilst reading.

Sensuousness is the awareness of the marvel of being here - this really clicks for me.

Also ‘me’ becoming somewhat looser and more thinned out in order to allow sensuousness is a great pointer too.

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Ya indeed!

I’m not sure if the best way to think of it is as a ‘definite thing’ per se…

It’s not a binary like a PCE. You can be more or less sensuous. I think in an EE, you are basically being sensuous all the time, but then you can ramp that up even more. Conversely when not in an EE you can start to become more sensuous and that can lead to an EE.

So maybe better to think of it as a gradient… where you can be more or less sensuous and/or be experiencing more or fewer qualities of it in larger or lesser quantities. What do the rest of you guys think?

Lastly I will add that in a PCE it’s like apperception is its own sensuousness, but it’s different in that it’s not ‘me’ being sensuous anymore, it is the actual flesh and blood body being apperceptively aware of its own consciousness that is experiencing the intrinsic delight of being conscious in and of itself. Maybe I could say sensuousness becomes ‘redundant’ then as everything is already “maxed out” without needing anything else per se. In this sense then sensuousness would be as close a feeling-imitation as you could get to apperceptiveness, which is discarded when no longer necessary.

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Although the ASA article mentions that sensuousness is in itself the actuality ascertained, along with appercetiveness.

I see it as apperceptiveness is the experience of pure consciousness through which sensuousness is directly experienced, whereas for a feeling being sensuousness is perhaps filtered to some extent?

I actually had another long PCE yesterday so I remember the experience very well, in apperceptiveness there is this direct experience of everything being so sparkling and incredible which I take to be sensuousness itself, being apperceptive allowed the direct and unmediated experience of this incredible character of actuality.

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Personally I never did like the article :laughing:

It’s actually not clear to me from the article what precisely it is. I find it a lot less clear than other parts of the site.

Practically it helped me to think of sensuousness as something ‘I’ do, a way ‘I’ relate to experiencing being alive, and it being a way of relating which then allows me to allow apperception to happen.

I can see why you would say that in a PCE you are being sensuous in a ‘direct’ way as opposed to a ‘filtered’ way. I think that’s another way of saying that ‘me’ being sensuous is a feeling-imitation of the actual (which is not feeling-based). It’s analogous to saying how the method is the same pre and post actual freedom – it’s enjoying and appreciating this moment of being alive – except that the enjoyment is affective pre-actual-freedom and actual post-actual-freedom. They are both enjoyment, it’s true, but the nature of the actual enjoyment is quite different…

But in any case the key for me was thinking of ‘me’ being sensuous as a feeling-based thing, it’s what ‘I’ do as a feeling being. Before I got that part, I was trying to ‘pay attention to the senses’ in order to imitate actuality, as I thought it had something to do with sensory perception. But it’s not that, it’s that it has to do with enjoyment and appreciation of the senses – so it’s something ‘I’ do not something the senses do. But I also came at it from a muddled affer/spiritual/buddhistic background which is probably why the distinction was important for me.


Yes this makes sense and I think it’s a helpful way of explaining it, it helped me this morning for sure after reading the posts. It does help to avert from the dead end of just paying attention to the senses as you mention, it’s one of the reasons why I never wanted to focus on sensuousness because after my spiritual background I also saw a risk of heading in the wrong direction.

I was thinking of sensuousness in the same category as pure intent, as in pure intent is actual and yet as a feeling being I can somehow establish a connection to it.

So what you say makes sense, that although sensuousness is actual it is somehow possible for the feeling being to experience it in different gradients, all the way through to actuality where there is a direct and unmediated experience of it.

Is it that there is the direct experience of sensuousness which is actual and then there is the imitative sensuousness which is all about ‘me’ marvelling at the world around to the extent that is humanly possible, all the way until ‘I’ disappear and there is only the sensuousness left.

Hmm “direct experience of sensuousness” seems strange to say because sensuousness is an experience already. It’s like saying a “direct experience of a pure consciousness experience” – but the PCE already is an experience, it’s not like a PCE is an object that exists that you then experience, rather the PCE itself is a manner of experiencing.

So it’s not that sensuousness is an object to be experienced, rather it is itself a mode of experiencing.

So maybe we could say in a PCE, one of the aspects of the way being alive is experienced is called ‘sensuousness’ – i.e. it’s an adjective describing an actual/apperceptive experience. And then outside of a PCE we can imitate that aspect of actual experience via an imitative sensuousness which is feeling-based, all the way until ‘I’ disappear and allow actual sensuousness to happen.

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Lol yes that makes sense :laughing:

I guess what I was trying to get at with the ‘direct experience’ was actually referring to purity. As in when in a PCE there is just the marvelling left. Whereas whilst being ‘me’ there is always some level of affect obscuring the experience.

It is exactly like the example you made with enjoying and appreciating, there is ‘me’ enjoying and appreciating affectively where there is always some level of ‘dirt’ and there is pure enjoyment and appreciation which only happens in a PCE.

So then essentially all one does is enjoy and appreciate this moment of being alive and sensuousness happens of its own accord as a way of experiencing. Is that more correct?

Hmm I think it can happen that way yeah. You can find yourself being sensuous – or being a way you would call sensuous in hindsight – as a result of enjoying and appreciating. But you can also ‘put yourself in a sensuous mood’, like to go for such a thing specifically. No harm in trying :wink:

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