Sixth Sense

The human body has five senses sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. In Buddhism, among others,  it is believed that you also posses a sixth sense. This is a sense of your presence in the world or in physical space. This is called ayantana. Buddhism also distinguishes between the sixth sense arising from your physical senses and a sixth sense that arises from your unconscious mind. In the latter, apparently you can connect to the Universe but for the moment lets focus on the sense created by your other physical senses.

In a interesting turn of events of science meeting theology, scientists have found a gene called PIEZO2. This controls specific aspects of your sense of touch and the sense of your physical presence in space. A mutation in this gene causes people to lose their sense of touch and their ability to sense their own presence. To cope, the human body uses other physical senses such as sight for physical movement. Scientists have established that PIEZO2 is the gene that propagates your sixth sense and are now investigating how it impacts other neurological disorders. A rare disorder, patients who had mutations showed a complete absence of the sense of touch.

Growing up, we were schooled in the rational school of thought in which evidence was required to validate any presumption. One of the challenges  of theology is that it provides perspectives without adequate proof.  Of course, the fact that a single human being could determine the presence of a sixth sense with or without proof in itself is astonishing. In my own case, as I attempt meditation and see its benefits, I am increasingly leaning toward a belief in much of what the scriptures teach. Science, I think, will catch up eventually.