Once we incarnate into our sense of touch, through which we experience the resistance of something else and the reality of our own boundary, and we find ourselves thrown back into our own center, we move to the perception of “the existence within” our skin. What exists within our skin is our life, our biological organization and the functions that keep us alive. This new sense is called our life sense or our sense of well-being. We don’t pay too much attention to this sense until something is not well within. With touch we perceive “is,” our being is because I experience my limits and boundaries. With well-being we perceive “is not,” I am alert to an absence in my “isness.”
When something is not right, lacking, or overwhelming, our sense of well-being alerts us with feelings of hunger, thirst, exhaustion or dis-ease. As infants and children we depend on others to fill our bellies, quench our thirst, put us to bed, and calm and comfort our dis-ease. Curiously this sense tells us that what resists our touch can also care and provide for us.
Before I go into the soul perceptions of well-being, I want to quickly point out that touch wakes us up to space and well-being wakes us up to time. When our sense of well-being grabs our attention we begin to endure. Duration is the body’s perception of time – how long can I bear this suffering, the absence of my well-being.
Now to the sense that let’s the soul know it is suffering…
Begin with questioning your ability to endure suffering. Your own suffering and the suffering of others? Are you struggling right now with the suffering of the planet, with the Gulf oil spill?
Is it easy for you to repress your suffering? Repressed suffering lives below consciousness and never finds relief. (I know for myself, I learned to endure and put on a happy face at an early age. Eventually, I lost all sense of what was unendurable, found myself seeking relationships that demanded I hunger, thirst, and exhaust myself, etc. It’s a whole story of a very unhealthy sense of well-being. I’ve been in soul recovery for years. I know now it is up to me to notice when my cup is empty and fill it with kindness myself. When it overflows, I can share my kindness with others. There are so many great lessons living in the awareness of well-being.
When your soul is hungry, what is it hungry for? How do you feed your soul? Who else feeds your soul? Think of comfort foods for the soul – a poem, a painting, a string quartet, a long walk, a good movie, telling your truth. Make a list. You might want to make a bunch of little cards with suggestions for soul snacks or soul feasts and keep them in a bowl. When your soul feels hunger rumblings, go to the bowl and pull a card. Enjoy the nourishment.
When your soul is thirsty, dry, parched – do you know this feeling? Where do you go? Where are the sweet waters your soul drinks from? Does the smile of a loved one or a stranger quench your loneliness?
Souls need rest. Do you overwhelm your soul with too much self-help, too much seriousness, too much demand to develop? How do you imagine taking a soul nap? What lullaby would sing your soul into a gentle sleep? If you just close your eyes.
And if your soul knows dis-ease, pain, illness where do you seek healing? When your soul gets inflamed what cools you down? Or if your soul gets chilled, what blankets your thoughts and feelings with warmth?
In your sense journal, make lists of how your soul experiences a lack of well being, when it feels it is losing its liveliness and life. Then make lists of all the wonderful things that restore your soul’s health and wealth. These lists will be an endless source of personal care and wisdom, recipes for delicious soul feasts, juices for a juicy sense of self, soft pillows on which to lay your soul down and all kinds of therapeutic relief and restoration.
If you need a summer conversation for soothing or stimulating, I might have what you are seeking. Read more…