Is Intense Sensation or Energy a Threat?
How would you describe your inner experience to a scientist? Notice the exact location of energy in your body. Does this sensation take up the whole space of your body from front to back or is it small, maybe a few inches in diameter in the middle? Notice the space all around it. It doesn’t go on forever. Does it have a sharp edge or taper off? Is it dense or pulsing? Is there a temperature or color? Do you have an image of the sensation? Keep your attention right in the space where that sensation is located and observe “from there”. If that feels too intense, pay attention more to the space around it at first.
The Velcro Effect is when words and images are associated with sensation and energy in the body. Pay attention to your experience right now with that sensation. Is it a threat? Does it feel like it could hurt me? Intensity is interpreted by our nervous system as a possible threat. Once we really look at the energy, we might observe a sensation that is here in a particular location that feels a certain way.
Many of us have an automatic fallback position from when we were children that we can’t handle intensity. Is that still true? In this moment can you handle being present with whatever is coming up in your body and experience?
What is the intention behind the sensation? Does it want to hurt you? Is it malicious? There are no right or wrong answers. If that feels true, it only means there are thoughts attached to the energy. Look at and do inquiry with those words and images. As the words and images are seen and the “charge” on them releases, stay with the sensation itself. Much of our energy is hurt or pain. Something was too intense or scary to feel when it happened and it got stored in our tissues as energy.
Knowing this shifts everything because we begin to feel safe. This sensation is painful and it isn’t intending to hurt me. It hurts but that’s not why it is here. When we realize we are not under attack, we can relax our defense mechanisms and feel what is here. It becomes possible to sit with the mining questions. Is there something it wants me to know? Is this a familiar feeling I’ve felt before? If so, when? With whom? Persistent sensations have a lot of associated memories that will often come up when we sit with open interest.
We have all these associations. That’s how the mind works. Scott Kiloby calls that stickiness the Velcro Effect. We have a storehouse of impressions that are linked to sensation. If we have a thought of “I’m unworthy” it feels powerful because it is more than words. There is energy with the thought and that is stored and felt somewhere in the body.
The experience of energy in our body always changes. We can put our hand on our heart and feel the warmth and the sense perception of the front of our chest. We can turn toward our experience with kind attention. We can comfort ourselves.
November 13 and 20: workshops on thought and mind. Click here for details