The more I read and study about the nervous system I am convinced of developing my felt sense.
Peter Levine, author of Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma defines the felt sense as being consciously aware your body and its sensations make any experience more intense.
It is the embodiment of your ever-changing sensory, energetic, and emotional landscape as they occur in the body. The felt sense moves your focus from actions and things happening outside in the world to quantities of your present, internal experience.
Being aware of your present moment informs your full experience. There is something magical to notice, feel, and sense what is happening.
There is a time for planned practice and there is a time to experience the sensations in the world. You must be fully engaged and sense how you contact and connect with your environment. How you breathe. When you strain. How you shift unnecessary muscular tension.
The goal is to develop the ability to be in tune with and describe your felt sense, the sensations occurring on subtle and overt levels all across your body.
There is a caution. If or when you feel overwhelmed during the exercise put your awareness on a neutral body part.
Here is my favorite practice:
- Find a comfortable seat
- Perhaps close your eyes or softly gaze downward
- Rest your hands on thighs or lap
- Follow your inhale and your exhale
- Notice your breathing
- Feel your body sitting
- Sense your body (heat, tingling, pulsing, tension, pressure)
…after 2-3 minutes, be aware of your whole body as best you can.
Working with your felt sense is part of your personal development because you develop a deeper relationship with yourself.
What is it like being with yourself?