The Sixth Sense


When I talk about the six senses in memoir writing, occasionally someone asks me, don’t you mean five? The Famous Five they mean are sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. A writer makes a story come alive when generous use of the Famous Five is splashed fragrantly onto an otherwise sense-less page. The reader is then transported to another world as warm arms of words reach out to embrace. The reader surrenders to literary rapture.

Human Energy

Human Energy

The sixth sense is just as important. Including experiences for which there is no rational explanation honours the inexplicable, the invisible, the spiritual. A woman in one of my classes told us about two men she was dating when she was young and couldn’t decide which one to marry. One day, she was walking beside one of them and when she went to hold his hand, an electric shock passed from his hand to hers and travelled the length of her whole arm. Sparks! She decided then and there he was the one. One of my friends had a mother who astral travelled. In the middle of the night, my mother-in-law—who was alone because her husband was on a painting trip up north—heard her husband calling “help”. She got up, drove the four hours north and found him on the floor unconscious.

Such higher sense perceptions could include serendipity, synchronicity, coincidences, hunches, intuition, dreams, sending energy, seeing energy, distance healing, healing though the laying on of hands, telepathy, clairvoyance, near-death experiences, psychokinesis, and more. Love, too, falls here, says Barbara Brennan, a NASA physicist who became a healer.


Einstein Quote

Einstein Quote

Hallucinator Dr. Oliver Sachs writes that hallucinations are normal. It was in a dream that Isaac Singer received the idea for the hole in the sharp end of needle that made the Singer sewing machine possible. Psychiatrist Diane Hennacy has found that autistic children demonstrate telepathy to a greater extent than others. She believes that accepting these phenomena as real can open the door to a more harmonious way of connecting with one another.

From my own life … I was living on a boat on Pier 4 at Dinner Key Marina in Miami, just barely making ends meet doing varnish work on boats. It had been six months since my life had fallen apart in the islands, and I desperately needed to go back and visit people and places. I calculated that I would need $500 to do this. I wrote it down, made a list of the expenditures. You could say that I made my need visible. The day after I wrote down this request, my thin and fit surfboarding friend George phoned. He was trying to sell his 28’ wooden boat —I’d done the smooth-as-a-baby’s-bum varnish work on it—on Pier 1 but wasn’t having any luck. If I brought someone to see his boat who wound up buying it, he would give me a commission of $500. What a coincidence. But what were the chances?

The very next day, when I was reading and sipping hot black tea in the cockpit, waves gently lapping against the hull, a big blond man clumped the long way down Pier 4 and asked me in a heavily accented voice if I knew of any boats for sale. Well, I said, you’ve asked the right person. I pointed the boat out to him, told him what I knew about it, which was quite a lot (I didn’t mention the stinky bilge), and that was that. He was too big a guy for a little 28-footer.

A few weeks later, George phoned to say Ivan had bought the boat and would I come to his office so he could give me a cheque for that magic $500. On the one hand I was amazed, and on the other, I felt it was absolutely right, that the stars were in proper alignment, that invisible forces were at work. At this most difficult time in my life, I felt enchanted. Loved, even, by invisible forces. I brought George a bouquet of yellow tulips, and booked a flight.

When you include all six senses in your memoir, we listen wide awake. Do you have a sixth sense experience to share here?


Written by Diane Taylor, author of the Gift of Memoir


18 comments on “The Sixth Sense

  1. Good on you for making sense of the sixth sense


  2. Amazing and astounding! I understand we do have a brain in our stomachs – well, maybe that is the only brain I have and I know if I ignore it, bad things happen. Sixth sense, intuition are both very strong in some people. Thanks for the interesting commentary. Much to think about. Hope all goes well! Catherine


    • I’d say you have a good head/brain on your shoulders to be listening to millions of bacteria (live!) in the gut. Or stomach. And do our two brains talk to each other? Nice to hear from you.


  3. What a fabulously interesting post, Diane. Thanks for it.


  4. Great post, Diane, and very interesting. The book “The Third Man Factor” by John Geiger is a good read- tells many stories of the so-called “third man” (or woman) who guides and/or protects people in stressful situations. Is it one’s internal voice manifesting itself as something external or …? Makes for interesting reading.


  5. Diane, I enjoyed your sharing of the boat sale with us. I couldn’t agree more that those marvelous moments when things come together to help us are great to include in a book or blog. Providential gifts are my favorite thing to write about. I’ve had dreams both warn me and encourage me. They don’t happen often, but I pay attention to these nighttime messages–just-in-case.
    Blessings ~ Wendy


  6. Thanks for the great post, Dee. In my view, extrasensory phenomena need to become a normal part of everyday conversation. When we stop to reflect that the colors of a rainbow represent a mere slice of the actual spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, and sounds within our hearing range are just a portion of the spectrum of audio waves known to exist, then we have to acknowledge that we live within a reality that is much vaster than our physical one that’s defined by the narrow perceptual limits of our five senses. I suspect that most of us don’t focus much on this greater reality simply because we’ve been raised in a culture that is slow to encourage or validate the existence and exploration of abilities such as telekinesis, precognition, clairvoyance, lucid dreaming, astral projection, prayer, etc., and we’re still being taught very outdated science in schools. Consciousness-assisted technologies already exist; William Tiller (prof emeritus, Stanford Univ) and Heartmath Institute are two highly reputable info sources for those who are curious, and there are many others. The more we accept and discuss our personal experiences and explore the amazing body of research and empirical evidence that already exists in this arena, the more we can expect these things to become the norm, not the amazing exception. So let’s go for it!


    • Great links you make about the huge portion of sound waves and colour spectrum that are invisible to us. And when you think that bacteria were once invisible until we (someone) discovered a way to see them 500 or so years ago. I’m glad to know about the Heartmath Institute. Much appreciated, Kathy.


  7. What a wonderful tale of the sixth sense at work.


  8. […] Barbara Brennan, a NASA physicist who became a healer and wrote Hands of Light, refers to love as a Higher Sense Perception, and is, in effect, a sixth sense. dianemtaylor.com […]


  9. There is more and more evidence that the six sense isn’t an imagination. I come originally from Latvia where people have more maintained interest in all kinds of magic, definitely sixth sense, healing and foretelling, signs and superstitions, curses and dream explanations, and I had quite a few times when it really mattered and when I was very sure this is real.
    Your post was very interesting to read. Yes, we have lost this sense over centuries and we can still gain it back.


  10. This is such an astonishing idea to consider! I think of the sixth sense as a device for specific works of fiction, yet after reading your post I had to reevaluate how often I have inhabited this other state, whether in the magic of a travel experience or the enchantment of the “right” moment.


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