"We can be in the same situation of grasping and holding on with odors and smells. If our olfactory sense works properly then a cornucopia of smells opens to us. This can be a great gift if we are attentive to them. We can enjoy the heady perfume of flower blossoms, the spicy fragrance of a close friend, or the rich smell of baking bread. With meditation we can be more fully aware of smells in that by not grasping at them we can actually be more present to them.
"I love to try new things and I also love perfume and fragrant smells but I am allergic to perfume and cannot wear any. So whenever I am in an airport, I am challenged by these two combined patterns of attraction and experimentation when I walk by the duty-free perfume counters. As I experience the contact of the perfumes through the olfactory sense, the temptation to try them out, just a little bit on the wrist for fun, is great. I can feel the strong movement toward it; it is like a physical pull. But this is my airport meditation practice, to resist the lure of the fragrances while being fully conscious of it. This is the test of encountering and smelling without physical ownership, without wanting to make it mine, without grasping.
"We can also practice with unpleasant smells. I have a neighbor who regularly burns plastic rubbish on a little pile in her backyard. We have asked her not to do this but it seems this is the only thing she is allowed to do by law with that type of small plastic rubbish. So it has become my smelling meditation. When the smell of burning plastic wafts toward me sitting on the terrace, I just notice it, as it comes and goes. I do not exaggerate it or proliferate with it though, like anyone would be, I am pleased when the small fire has been burnt through, and I can breathe fresh and clean air again."