FELT SENSE

WHEN WE PAUSE, WHAT IS IT WE LISTEN TO?

When we STOP for a moment .. or a few minutes .. we do so to take a 

The FELT SENSE of something is a kind of 6th sense we all know well.  We know ‘it’ when we feel this subtle maybe ‘strange’ sensation in our body,  though we can’t really put a name to it.   Sometimes we can’t even find words to describe ‘it’ yet we are aware that something has shifted .. changed in our body.  

So a FELT SENSE is a BODILY SENSE of something.  

Have you noticed?  We are quick to listen to our thoughts created by our minds.  They shape every moment of our day.  But there is a difference in the quality of information between what our MINDS tell us and what our BODY tells us. 

Our minds are our STORY TELLERS. From our experiences they create expressions, thoughts, beliefs that we think are real.  Our thoughts create our reality.

But our deep connection with our reality comes from within. And it’s our FELT SENSE of that our body informs us about .. which seems to be a highly intuitive sense that IS OUR REALITY. 

A felt sense is more than just an emotion, though it may well have an emotional aspect.  In everyday terms, the felt sense describes the fuzzy feelings that we don’t usually pay much attention to – a vague ‘gut feeling’ or that inexpressible sense of unease we express as ‘I’m not quite feeling myself today’ or ‘I know something’s not quite right.”

It’s also the bodily sense that shows us the rightness or wrongness of of our path through life. IF WE KNOW HOW TO LISTEN TO IT

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Some felt senses are strong enough that they force themselves into our awareness, like the feeling of butterflies in your stomach before going on stage. But, most of the time, felt senses lie below our ordinary level of consciousness. Only when we deliberately bring gentle, inquiring attention inside our body do we perhaps notice a fluttery or jittery sensation. Once we recognize this subtle felt sense, we can learn a lot about what it is that’s making us uncomfortable, and this often leads to a relaxation of the inner tension and fresh energy to go forward.

Felt senses are subtle sensations experienced in a bodily, non-conceptual way. We have to gently focus our awareness within, sensing for any kind of unclear or cloudy sensations. Felt senses can feel as if they are already there when we bring attention inside, or they can form only after a while, like a photographic image slowly appearing in developing solution. In either case, patient non-judgmental waiting allows the felt sense to stabilize and come more into focus. Once it is fully present, we can begin a process of empathic inquiry. We let the felt sense have its own integrity, separate from our observing self—almost as if it were another being living deep within us. We ask it questions, such as “What are you fearing?” or “What are you needing or wanting?,” or even “How old are you?” We start an inner conversation.

Once we have posed a question to the felt sense, it is important that we wait and let the answer, if any, arise freshly from the felt sense itself. We are not answering the question from what we already know, but waiting for the “other person” — the felt sense — to say what is true for it. Often the answer comes as a sudden insight, an Aha! or, Now I see it. Along with the insight comes a “felt shift,” a change in the felt sense itself, usually a release or softening. Sometimes the shift is also marked by a deep outbreath or a feeling of tears about to come.

Here is a personal example (condensed from my book Your Body Knows the Answer).

I used to get angry or anxious when interrupted while working. On one such occasion, I gave myself time to bring my attention inside. I noticed a constricted, achy feeling in my chest. After giving it some friendly attention, the constriction softened and became more a sense of vulnerability. I stayed gently with this new feeling, and after a while I remembered a scary time as a child when I was lost in the woods.

Then came a sudden insight: my irritation at being interrupted was connected with a fear of losing my train of thought, like being lost in the woods and not knowing how to get back. Remembering the huge anxiety I felt as a child when I was lost in the woods, making it conscious, allowed me to see that getting interrupted now, as an adult, is very different. Even if I’m thrown off course for a bit, I know I can get back to whatever I was doing or thinking before the interruption. This realization brought a bodily sense of relaxation and confidence, and it was a significant step in becoming less reactive to being interrupted on future occasions.

Time and Space

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WHO are you listening to?

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The significance of THE PAUSE.

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