Sunflower Mind video clip # 6: Implicit movement

This 4-minute video clip is about the implicit movement underlying our felt sense of the situation. It is part of the 25-minute video about embodied relational mindfulness.


We talked about paying attention to inner sensation. As we stay with that inner sensation, more often than not, when the situation is challenging, or when it’s rewarding, that inner movement is going to be an actual movement. It’s going to be something physical: going toward, going away from… So, noticing the movement is what is going to allow us to see what needs to be done for the movement to be completed.

For instance, let’s take a very dramatic situation: Your therapist looks at you, notices your body reaction, and draws your attention to it. You pay more attention to it. You actually start to notice it. You notice kind of this twisting (visual of the body twisting). And then, as you notice it, your body is in that kind of twisted position. You notice: “Oh, so if it’s twisted, it means there has been a twisting. OK. So where is this twisting going? What’s the implicit movement that’s there? Hm. So, maybe that’s kind of a moving away from something that’s coming in that direction?”

So, you follow the twisting. And, as you follow it, as you stay with it, you don’t assume anything. You just pay attention the movement. Or, if you assume something, you go slowly, and you double-check how that assumption fits with what’s happening: Whether it’s an abstract construction, or it a really good response to how your body is going.
You might discover that a twisting is like wanting to turn away, stand up, and run away (visual of movement). Or you might notice, for instance, that the twisting is like — (visual of body twisting back to gain momentum then uncoiling into a throwing gesture) —just going, and taking your momentum, and Vlam! …

What are we doing when we’re paying attention to what happens, you know, the questions that I was talking about before? We’re not just trying to say, “Oh, I just happen to feel whether my shoulders are tense. Or: I just happen to feel, you know, not much air…” Or something like that. But the point of feeling it, as you stay with it, is to understand what the movement is. And again, same thing as the Sunflower metaphor: It’s not just a movement that exists in and of itself. But it’s a movement that is your basic Orienting response, your whole organism responding to the situation, the way it understands the situation to be.

So, once you understand that movement, you actually have a perfect sense of what your whole organism is perceiving the situation to be. Whether or not it’s the right reaction given the circumstances is a different story. But, at least you need to start to see where you are, and what you are actually doing from the bottom-up, from your Sunflower Mind. As opposed to what you think you are doing, or what you think you should be doing. The whole thing, what you’re perceiving.

So, for instance: (visually demonstrating) “I’m not breathing. I stay with it – uh. My stomach is tight. Ha”. And you notice how your mouth is open, your eyes are open, the whole body is this way (visual of face). Fear.

So that’s what the paying attention to the body is for. It’s not just so that you can say, “Hey, I have tension here, or tension there.” But so that you understand the situation as a whole.

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