There are two ways to increase how much you perceive. The first is to repair any damage that may have been done to the sensing organs, perhaps even improving on the natural structure. You might do this with mechanical enhancements, like glasses, binoculars and hearing aids or with surgery. It is possible that in the future gene therapies will be discovered that will allow a person to grow better eyes, ears and noses.
You can also improve your ability to see, hear, feel, taste and smell by learning to be more fully aware of the information that is coming in.
The mind protects us
Our minds filter the impressions we get from our senses. This is done to protect us from having too much information to work with in our early lives. When we are young and have not learned how to deal with the world, and we learn to block out large portions of the incoming information. Visually we only block out about twenty percent of what comes in through our eyes. This makes sense for a species that is primarily visual. We only process around twenty percent of what we hear, ten percent of what we feel and around two percent of what we smell and taste.
By learning to pay closer attention to what we are perceiving, we can condition our minds to except greater amounts of information. In a manner of speaking we can learn to have better reception of sensory input.
It takes practice
The techniques for this are not hard, though they take regular practice and a meditative state of concentration. With practice you should notice testable results without even being in a deeply focused state.
How to begin
To start focus on the individual sense you wish to sharpen. Resist the temptation to concentrate on the sense organ, make sure you pay attention to the information coming in, or you can slow your progress. In other words, if you want to see better, focus on what you see, not on your eyeball!
Relax and clear your mind.
Pick one of the below methods to work with at a time. It works best if you separate your exercises by a few minutes. Do one, wait a bit, do the next. Pick the senses that you wish to improve and practice daily. You can work on more than one sense per day.
Vision: We really do tend to notice what we see. So to increase your visual skills, concentrate on the things you don’t normally notice.
Relax your eyes and pay attention to your peripheral vision, the fuzzy edges of your sight. Notice your cheeks below your eyes? How about your nose? With practice and attention you will begin to notice the blind spot in the center of your visual field.
Keep looking straight ahead while placing your attention to the front, then points to the side, then on your nose, then the blank spots straight ahead of each eye.
Now, start paying attention to two things at once, after minute switch to another two. Practice holding your attention on more and more objects.
This will force your mind to adapt and allow you to notice things you normally block out.
Hearing: We generally have a lot more room to work with in our perception of sound, than of light. In many ways this makes this a much more impressive skill to master than the one above.
Find a quite place, indoors or out. Pick a sound that is fairly consistent, the sound of a river, of a passing car, the hum of a refrigerator, whatever sound is handy. Focus on that sound, notice each part of the sound. How does the sound change? Does any of it stay the same?
After a few minutes switch to another sound. Switch two or three times.
Next, try to pay attention to all the sounds around you at once.
Smell: With smell it pays to focus on only one scent at a time. The trick here is to be able to isolate each one from the others.
Try to get a sense for each scent by paying attention to a point around and inch into your nose, on the top side. Alternate short inhalations, with long slow breaths through your nose.
Pick one scent at a time and focus one it for around a minute. Then change to another scent.
Only practice this for a few minutes at a time. The proteins released that bind with particles in the air will rapidly be exhausted, due to greater released caused by your focus. It takes a few minute to replenish fully.
Taste: Place a small bit of food in your mouth, chew it a bit first. Draw some air through your mouth, over the food and push it through your nose. This will allow the particle to pass into the nasal cavity. What we think of as taste is actually made up both true sense of taste and the ability to smell.
Again break the sensations apart and focus on one. With each bite, refocus on a different part of the sensation.
End the session with a few sips of water. Focus on the differences between the food and water.
Touch: Take a bag and put a dozen or so differently textured, but similar objects in it. Try to pick objects that will be difficult to feel a difference in.
Pick an object and focus on the way it feels, holding it in the bag so that you cannot see it. Touch it, rub it, hold it. Focus your total attention upon the object.
Choose a different object after a minute or too and do the same thing.
When you have done several different objects, stop and notice how the rest of your body feels. Feel the clothing on your body, the parts of you that touch different areas of the room. The pressure of what you are sitting on, the feel of your feet in your shoes.
Now keep all this in mind and pick another object in the bag. Try to hold all this information at once.
Be creative and push yourself to notice finer details and sensations as you go on. Practice daily and you will find yourself noticing much more of the world around you.