The World Beyond Our Senses

Do you have any idea how glorious the world around you really is? Consider the multitude of gifts of our earthly existence that are far beyond what our very limited human bodies can interpret or fully experience.

While humans can hear from 20 to 20,000 Hz (vibrations per second), a bat can hear up to 200 kHz, in so much detail they can navigate almost completely by sound, while flying quickly in the dark.1 What might Beethoven or Mozart have been able to compose if they could hear with that precision to make mental images in the mind?

“If you swapped your eyes for an eagle’s, you could see an ant crawling on the ground from the roof of a 10-story building.”2 Imagine the details of the world around us that we walk by every minute without notice.

In June of 2012, scientists found a woman who could see 99 million more colors than everyone else thanks to having a fourth cone in her eyes instead of the normal three.3 Imagine 100 million shades of colors exist, but we just can’t see 99% of them! What vibrant colors this world must hold!

“Imagine being able to taste a single drop of coke in an Olympic size swimming pool.” A catfish can, with 250,000 taste buds compared to the human 10,000.4 Oh what Ben & Jerry’s could do with taste buds like that to tease!

Bloodhounds can detect the smell of some cancers with better accuracy than our best state-of-the-art screening equipment. Imagine even the tiniest of cells inside our bodies have a scent to share! The bouquet of the world outside our bodies becomes incomprehensible.

The posture of Ignatian spirituality rests in our capacity to stand in awe and humility before God, fully recognizing our own very limited yet sacred status as both creature and child of the Creator. Perhaps this is why Ignatius relies so heavily on imagination. If our capacity to experience and understand this physical world is so very limited by our human senses, how much greater is our humility sitting before the Resurrected Christ?





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Lisa Kelly
Lisa Kelly is a wife, mother, and Ignatian Associate living in Omaha, Nebraska. She works to help organizations integrate spirituality into their planning and systems. She and her husband, Tom, completed the 19th Annotation in 2005, just prior to spending two years living in the Dominican Republic with their three young children, supporting the work of the Jesuit Institute for Latin American Concern. Additionally they have lived in El Salvador and Bolivia for extended periods.


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