What is this I feel in my back?

May 1, 2014  |  1 comment

When I feel a sensation in my body, I have several choices. I might feel sharp pang in my right low back and think, “It’s my kidney” or “My low-back hurts.”

Or I could step back from concluding anything. I could observe. “A sensation. Where is it? How would I describe it?”

In other words, instead of starting with a conclusion (“This is what this feeling means and here’s what I need to do about it”), I can begin by asking, “What is this? How much attention do I want to pay to it? Does it change if I move?  What happens if I wait a few hours?”

Master Observers. felines Bailey & Sammy the Serpent

Master Observers Bailey & Sammy the Serpent

We can develop expertise at observing ourselves. We can hone our attention. We can get all Sherlock Holmes on ourselves. That sounds intrusive to me as I write it. But isn’t it more intrusive to pronounce something about myself than to simply watch, wait, and consider?

Indian writer and teacher J. Krishnamurti wrote: “To observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”

What sensations do you notice this moment?

Here’s a fun piece about how much can be right in our faces that we don’t even notice, and how to train the mind to be more observant: