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  • Stuart Nevill

Can you feel it? (the benefit of sensitivity)

We are sensitive to the (human) nature within us and the social and natural world around us, however we don’t experience our lives as sensitively as we could, because we are able to keep our feelings out of mind.

Like fight or flight reactions, dissociation from feeling is a survival strategy we tend to employ either when we are scared, when we’ve been traumatised, or when our feelings threaten to overwhelm us. The more dissociated we are from our feelings, the less of our life we are living, and the more we will be beset by problems we don't understand.

The significant experiences of our lives, our perceptions, attitudes, identities, assumptions, expectations, fears and desires, dependencies, loves and hates, all have emotional dimensions which we can feel to lesser or greater extents.

To have a full and rich experience that we can make sense of, we must experience what is there to be experienced. We can’t understand what we aren’t conscious of. Even if we think we know what’s happening in our lives, if that knowledge doesn’t include the knowledge of how the issue feels, our understanding will remain partial and fragmented. The full understanding of an issue only comes from a conscious perspective on the felt experience.

We can develop the capacity to feel more, simply by bringing our attention back to what we are experiencing here and now, at any moment, and then make the effort to remain with the feeling quality of our lives.

Paying attention to the way things actually are, with interest and without interference - including how we feel in the present tense - is an important foundation in the development of wisdom.

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