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Self-Sensing and the Breath

March 25, 2010
Breathe Into Being: Awakening to Who You Really Are

Breathe Into Being: Awakening to Who You Really Are

Opening to the sensations of the body, which I often refer to as self-sensing, brings us into a more genuine relationship with ourselves, since it reveals how we actually respond to the inner and outer circumstances facing us. It also has a beneficial impact on our nervous system, helping to bring about the natural changes necessary for harmonious functioning and development. The human brain includes some 100 billion neurons, each of which “touches” some 10,000 other neurons. These neurons have many functions, but one of the main ones is to connect the various parts of the organism with one other, so that the organism as a whole can function in an integrated way while carrying out its activities. Through self-sensing we provide the organism with information it might not otherwise receive. We begin to learn firsthand about the interrelationships of our breathing, thoughts, emotions, postures, and movements. By noticing the sensations of our body, especially our breathing, in both the quiet and not-so-quiet circumstances of our lives, we experience connections between dimensions of ourselves that ordinarily escape our awareness. Self-sensing gives our brain and nervous system the spacious perspective it needs to help free us from our habitual psychophysical patterns of action and reaction. It helps free us from our various identifications and attachments with some function or manifestation of ourselves. When we pay choiceless attention to what is, we become one with awareness, with presence.

Try it now for a minute or two. Whatever position you are in, sense your entire body, including your breathing. Become innocently intimate with all the sensations that are occurring, opening as much as possible to them. Also include the shapes and energies of the thoughts and feelings that are taking place—negative or positive, it doesn’t matter. Don’t attempt to change anything. Simply get as close as possible to everything that is happening. Notice how allowing yourself to get closer to what is actually happening in your own body and mind seems to open up a much more spacious sensation of yourself, a sensation of “wholeness.”

Copyright 2009 by Dennis Lewis. Passage from Breathe Into Being: Awakening to Who You Really Are

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