Interoception and Your Inner Self-Helper
Interoception (sometimes called neuroception) is a sensory experience, in which you feel sensations in your body (viscera, heart, throat, etc.) that may be warning signs of limbic surveillance or inner continuity of your inner self-helper – that part of you and your brain that hopes to help you in whatever the situation you are experiencing. Interoceptive awareness is one of the most important mindfulness skills to practice. In the following meditation, we will visit your interoceptive self and augment its power by repeated the practice. In neuroscience a common understanding is that the larger number of neurons activated in more and more brain areas implies the variant of power (potentiation); more neuron firing in more brain areas results in a more significant life experience. This is one reason why PTSD is such a devastating disorder, and why it is NOT easy to treat successfully. Also, let us not forget the ultimate power of LOVE; people gives their lives for it, and people kill others over it. Let’s get into the practice.
- Sit in a comfortable meditation posture, and close your eyes if you prefer to. If you like you eyes open, gently fix attention downward toward the floor and hold a gentle gaze.
- Now take a few very deep and very slow breaths, in and out. Track the feelings/sensations of the movement of your breath into and out of the body. Focus attention on this for a few more deep, slow breaths.
- Now fully engage your imagination and follow the next few steps. Try to think less, and try to just BE more so.
- Focus full attention into your heart area and the viscera below it. See if you feel any form of sensations – even the most tiny sense of kinesthetics. Be with that feeling, and try to keep your mind on it without lots of thinking.
- Please do your best to accept that this inner feeling (no matter how slight) is the home of your inner self-helper. it is your intuitive area.
- Now our work begins: Using your mind’s eyes, is there a color to this feeling? Focus on it.
- Does the feeling inside your body have any shape? If so, what shape is it? See it, and feel it.
- How large or small is the area you feel it in?
- How about texture? Is there a discernable texture to your inner sensations?
- Is your feeling more hard or more softer?
- Does your inner feeling produce a memory of any sound or sounds?
- Now focus your energies on making that inner feeling stronger so it can have power to protect you.
- Now focus on making that feeling larger – feel your self-helper power This is your self-protector.
- Stay with the experience for a few minutes of silence. See what happens.
- Become aware, really aware of this feeling. Befriend it fully!
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness