We are used to operating by using our head knowledge to navigate reality. Our minds carry a repository of stored information built up from childhood that has been internally classified based on past experiences. For example, when we see a boat, we bring up in awareness the idea of boats and everything we logged about them, both factual and emotional.
In other words, we locate every thing within the realm of what we have already met or discovered – which is very stabilising in terms of creating feelings of familiarity in the world. It’s also a useful evolutionary device for surviving if we happen to meet a tiger!
However, this mind-oriented way of knowing is less useful in the realms of growth, creativity and innovation. Referencing our inner library index (consciously or unconsciously) can paralyse us when we want to find out something entirely new about a given situation, or give space to new possibilities. To do this, we need to be centred in the present moment and open up to other sources of awareness and inspiration.
We truly can meet the ‘here and now’ without running it through pre-existing filters. We have a powerful and fuller way of ‘knowing’ reality that uses sensing, deep listening and bodily data. It is intrinsically a whole person knowing, that focuses attention via a live question and also opens us up to wider spheres – that is, to other sources of consciousness that lie beyond individual experience.
Embodied knowing is an excellent means of keeping our attention in the present. And importantly, rather than distancing us from what we are examining, we are knowing it directly and staying in true relationship to its reality, now. This is especially true of human relationships where we tend to relate to people as we think/believe they are, rather than as they are right in this moment.
Embodied knowing also gives us the ability to be present with emerging data on all levels – with our mind, our felt bodily sense and our emotions. The key is to resist the natural urge to collapse the knowing field down in habitual and reactive ways based on ideas we hold and past experiences – and of course, this shuts down the potential of every living moment. As practitioners, we often need to discover areas of reactivity in ourselves in order to remain clear and present.
There is increasing amount of work being published about knowing and consciousness. A few key ideas you can explore within the fields of Psychology, Physics and Neuroscience are: morphic fields, collective unconscious and second brain (or ‘gut brain’).