Lack of Sensation

I keep finding myself coming around to this statement written by Will Johnson in his book The Posture of Meditation.

Sensation and involuntary thought cannot occupy the same space simultaneously.

My experiences have shown this to be a truthful statement. Involuntary thought, as Without intention; unintentional (thank you wikipedia) always seem to overpower all other senses. It’s as if the act of thinking triggers so many sensors in the body that all the triggers from other sources get overwhelmed in the process.

Getting control of involuntary thought – through relaxation – works like a charm. It is the fastest way to heighten all your senses and, at the same time, bring your life into the present. In the present moment is where the sensation of life exists, don’t let it get overrun by unintentional thought.

How do you tackle this unintentional thought?

Relaxation is the function of the body’s ability to surrender its weight to the pull of gravity.

Well, the act of relaxing is the result of calming the mind. How many times have you heard/read someone say something like ‘when you meditate, you still your mind’ or ‘think of nothing but your breathing when you meditate.’ As it turns out, the process of thinking generates electromagnetic currents that directly influence the body which responds with tension. It’s a natural bio-feedback loop; when you feel tense, it’s a direct reflection of a thought. Likewise, if you are thinking, you will be tense.

He states:

By locking our body into patterns of tension and rigidity, we become numb to our sensations and feelings.

Next time you meditate, make a conscious effort to become totally relaxed in a position that defies gravity (sitting upright). As thoughts give way and relaxation is experienced, your senses will become hypersensitive! The smallest activity around you will register, via your senses, as if it’s part of you. For instance, if you are a student of yoga, during the relaxation process at the very end of class, if you truly become relaxed, you’ll notice that the smallest whisper of sound will register as if it’s the full voice that booms through you. Or, if you mediate alone, you might notice that the slightest noise in the house bowls you over. This is exactly what you want to experience when you mediate. That is the heightened sense of awareness that shows your involuntary thought is not overpowering your experience of life.

Author Johnson sums it up like this:

A body that can align itself with gravity and then relax through surrendering its weight to the pull of gravity activates an awareness of its tactile, sensational presence. This presence, then, becomes a force that itself can purity the body and mind and reveal the meditative awarenesses that are the goal of the practice.

The opposite of relaxation can be summed up like the following:

By locking our body into patterns of tension and rigidity, we become numb to our sensations and feelings.

Tension prevents sensation.

Consider the classic anxiety attack where difficult thoughts roll through you mind over and over again paralyzing the body and blinding all other senses to the activities that should be performed in the current moment. Tossing and turning at night with thoughts rolling through your head is a perfect example where conscious relaxation should be practiced. The activity of the moment should be sleep, yet the thoughts create too much tension to even consider it.

Making conscious choices to stay balanced will help with experiencing what your senses have to share. If a deep breath moves you a step towards immediate relaxation, maybe two will be better. At the same time, the tension can act to contract the body. Make it egg-shaped.

Author Johnson continues:

By holding and identifying with thoughts, you invite limitation into your experience and interfere with the passage of the life force just as effectively as if you were holding back on sensations.

Who you think you are and how you think you should behave shape the tension in your body resulting in an experience from a tainted point of view. The ego plays a part in how you perceive the world. If you think you should behave a particular way during a life event, the information that your senses receive will be hardened or realized based on your expectations.

It’s like the quantum physics concept of the observer changing the experiment by the simple act of observing.

I have to say that there is a lot of ‘meat’ in that little book. I also love his reference to how I’m now starting to understand human consciousness. He states:

Many somatic therapists are being drawn to the notion that the location for what we call the “unconscious” is to be found in the tissues of the body itself, not just in some corner of the brain. If this is so, then as we become increasingly conscious of sensations, we are literally bringing our unconscious to the surface of awareness where it can once again be liberated and included as part of the conscious sphere of our body and mind. The body is the repository of the unconscious only so long as we remain unconscious of the body.

My studies all seem to lead to the same place – we are light Beings that are graced with the ability to experience sensations through our bodies. As we relax and shake the tension that shapes who we think we need to be, we start to experience life. The unconscious activities that we normally take for granted become heightened if that same activity is approached when we are actively tension free (relaxed). This involves a conscious decision to let go of unconscious thought and embrace the sensations of the current moment.

At this point, it’s a matter of acting rather than studying. The commitment to experience life to its fullest is a commitment to not carrying around the tension of idle thoughts.

Feel all that you can without hesitation.

Life is before you to enjoy.

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