Does Sensation Have a Shape?
When we relax and explore sensation in its raw form, we discover that the way we think about sensation affects our experience. However we can explore the gap between sensation and thought. In this gap we can experience sensation as raw data. It’s true characteristics become apparent. Rather than being a solid form, it shifts into a cloud of ‘formless’ sensation.
- Chose an area of your body with obvious sensation. If you’re not sure where – try your hand.
- The key perceptual question is:
“Does this sensation have shape?”
- Look at the raw sensation. Thoughts may arise, but gently return to your inquiry – does this sensation have shape?
- Sensations may shift and change, expand or contract. Let the question provide the direction.
Sam Harris gave wonderful instructions to this awareness hack in a conference talk, starting from 7:45 to 16:40.
Sensation is not as solid as we thought!
Does Sensation Have Location?
- Choose an area of sensation
- Notice the raw data of the sensation
- “Does the raw data include its location?”
- Keep looking
- What happens to the sense of location?
- Choose any two areas of sensation
- Notice the raw data of the sensations
- Where are they located relative to each other?
- Where is the distance information? Can you tell how far apart they are, using only sensation?
- Keep looking
- Are they within one cloud of sensation?
“So What!”, you say
Stress is held in our body as muscular tension and this is reinforced by our response to that tense sensation. This creates a negative feedback loop. Now we are processing sensations in a new way, accessing the raw data, using the faculty of awareness. We interrupt the negative feedback loop and start establishing a positive one. Look for the shape or location of the sensation –> discover the cloud of sensation. Do I want stress/tension or a ‘cloud of sensation’?
What are the qualities of the cloud? Is the cloud more like a gas or liquid, than a solid within awareness?
Are the cloud and awareness appearing as one? Maybe like the particle and the wave; the form and the formless.
- Notice the lack of shape or location data when scanning a sensation (as before)
- Notice its cloud/field of sensation
- Then notice the field of all sensation (the whole body cloud of sensation)
- “Is this a shape or a cloud?”
- “Do I feel at home in this field of being?” (binary questions)
- “From this field of being do I feel at peace with the world?”