Chuck’s Place: Meditation, Sensation, Intuition

Meditation offers balance and detachment... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Meditation offers balance and detachment…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

We live in a time of information overload. We are saturated from without by a constant flood of communication, from the latest news of everyone’s experiences to world events and an environment rapidly and unpredictably changing. Inwardly, we are flooded with images, thoughts, feelings and sensations, all vying for our attention that they might share their own stories.

The challenge now is how to stay grounded and manage this high intensity flow of data while simultaneously figuring out what is real, meaningful, and deserving of our attention.

There is a growing consensus, from many fields, that the ancient meditation practices of the East provide a technique that enables us to manage this overwhelming flood of data that we perceive or generate in such a way that we are granted the freedom to decide where we will place our attention. The simple ability to notice a thought or news item but be able to then choose to bring our attention back to the present moment, to our breath without interruption or a further development of the thought, goes a long way toward calming our central nervous system and providing the grounding to navigate daily life.

Carl Jung long ago identified two psychological functions, intuition and sensation, that are relevant to deepening our ability to navigate the flood of stimulation we encounter from within and without each day. Simply put, intuition is a psychological function, a sixth sense, that perceives what might be behind a door we are about to open, for instance, or “sees” some event in the future. Sensation operates through the five physical senses; it perceives what’s “actually” here and now.

These two functions are extreme opposites; one focuses on concrete known reality, the other on a future reality, unknowable in concrete terms. Often our minds are inundated with thoughts, feelings or images that if left to run freely would generate a story we might then contend is real. Suddenly we imagine a look on someone’s face or a call not returned as a definite snub. We feel rejected. We become frightened, anxious, and worried and before we know it we are living out that drama as if it were real.

Meditation might aid us here to lift us from the intensity of this inner drama and ground us in the here and now through focus on our body and one of its physiological functions, breathing. Here meditation couples with the sensation function to ground the ego and enable it to take back its energy from the drama. Afterwards, once centered, the ego is in a position to determine whether the germ seed of the drama was an actual intuition—that is, an actual perception of a future reality for instance—or merely the spinning of an illusion by a thought or some other trickster character in the personality.

Sitting with sensation our minds eventually enter the beauty and calmness of pure intuition... - Photo by Jan Ketchel
Sitting with sensation our minds eventually enter the beauty and calmness of pure intuition…
– Photo by Jan Ketchel

Intuitions generally occur spontaneously, presenting a definite picture, feeling, or knowing of something unseen. The experience might be compared to a flash of lightening. It’s powerful. Inner dramas, by contrast, though they might build in emotional intensity as the drama deepens in the mind, are more like soap operas spinning endless tales than sudden and powerful shocks of knowing. A grounded ego, detached from the drama, is in a good position to determine if it’s dealing with drama or intuition and can decide more clearly what to give attention to and what to discard.

Of course, even when dealing with a legitimate intuition there is still the possibility that a perceived future does not unfold along the lines intuited. Once again we do well to exercise the tool of mediation that helps us to stay grounded in the present moment, suspending judgment of what might happen as we watch life unfold as it will.

In developing a dedicated meditation practice we are provided with the grounding in sensation that enables us to delve into and explore the unseen without being captivated by phantom dramas that consume our vital energy and distract us from real life. Meditation provides the bridge to unite the seemingly irreconcilable opposites of sensation and intuition, allowing us to deepen our meaningful presence in life, in all its dimensions.

Sitting in calm sensation,

Once again, I share a YouTube video of a very simple and easy Korean meditation method: Son Meditation.

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