Some of our most powerful memories are associated with smell and taste. The olfactory nerve, responsible for smell, in evolutionary terms is our oldest sense. It is one of the senses that we have in common with bacteria. This rudimentary sense enables us to respond to chemicals around us. (Think of opening up the jug of soured milk – what is your response?) Another cool thing about this sense, it can regenerate. As you age, your other senses wear out – you have to wear bifocals, you may have to wear a hearing aid – you will still have smell. You will still be able to smell the hint of apple blossoms during the spring; and smell a chocolate cake baking in the kitchen.
It fascinates me how these smells seem to be wrapped around my memories. Scientists believe is because of where the olfactory is located – next to our memory maker the hippocampus. This closeness may be the reason scent is mixed with memory
~#~In my earlier essay on Love Champions, I wrote about the heart chakra. One of the seed mantras for the heart is "Yum.” Yum in Sanskrit means compassion and love.
How is it Yum – which I associate with yummy goodies and happy memories be also the seed mantra for the heart chakra? How is it that this meditation phrase about love and heart energy is also what I’ve learned to say when I bite into a chocolate cake with Hershey frosting and think of all the wonderful women who have baked this for me.
When I say it do I reinforce this memory with love? When I think fondly on my Mom and Aunt’s day of cooking and baking – did I reinforce that memory each year as a child with the sacred phrase of Yum?
Yesterday I went to the candle shop at the mall. I caught a whiff of the blended Christmas scents and for a momment I was transported back to my parent's dining room. I was there again looking at the goodies and the plates of multi-colored jewels.
It was a momment of love - a momment filled with comfort and a little girl's joy. And, again I said, "Yum" reinforcing this love that is bigger than my childhood's memory.