Embodied relational mindfulness Sunflower Mind ® relational mindfulness

Sunflower Mind® video # 4: Innner experience

The following video clip (5 minutes) is the fourth section of the 25-minute Sunflower Mind video.


Orienting, when the situation is pretty intense, is going to entail a very intense reorganization of our organism.

And, if you think in terms of bottom-up, this means it's not just an intellectual reorganization. It's not just something like the computer just spews out some instructions that have no emotional meaning. Our emotions are actually very intricately related to our reactions. Emotion has to do with motion. If you want, the motion can be the perception, the lived experience, of our reaction to a given situation.

And there is a bidirectional effect. Maybe the reaction exists at the same time as it is felt, or maybe it is felt a little bit before it actually manifests. I am not quite sure. But one way or another, the two are very linked. How it is felt is that there is actually a reorganization taking place, which is a re-organization not just of abstract ideas, but of the body (or, rather, the whole organism) preparing to take action.

So, if you think in terms of Orienting, what happens is: The whole organism is sensing something that is happening in the environment. The more important what is happening, obviously, the stronger this reorganization will be. And the whole organism is preparing to take action: To go toward, to go away from, to recoil, or to do whatever it is going to do. But the reaction is going to actually be a physical reaction.

Now it doesn't just happen this way when we are talking about encounters. I'm not just talking about what happens to you, say, when somebody is coming toward you with a club, trying to club you, or somebody is coming toward you with open arms and welcoming you, smiling. I'm also talking about situations that seem to be abstract, that seem to be about thoughts, that seem to be about ideas. Even, say, on your own, you're thinking about something. And you think, "Oh, what do I want to do? Do I want to go to this place or that place? Do I want to…?" Even in those kinds of moments, it's going to be coded in terms of Operating System language, and in terms of basic experience. The more intense that situation is, the more it's going to be coded in simple terms, such as: "Wow. This is good. I want to go toward it. I want this.” (visual of opening up and going forward) or "Ah! This is horrible. I want out.” (visual of recoiling) or “Ahh” (grunts & visual of fist movement indicating fight).

I'm demonstrating this with movements because the encoding is actually something that involves not just the idea of going toward, or going away from, but involves the preparation for it, involves the whole organism being all ready, at the very least rehearsing it, and maybe even starting the movement.

So how do you then notice this Orienting? This is where I'm inviting you to pay attention to physical sensation, to paying attention to what's happening inside. What's happening inside in terms of felt sense: You pay attention to the general sense of the situation. You're not trying to think about it so much. You're certainly not trying to analyze it. But you're paying attention to how you feel as a whole, in a more down to earth way. Not just a felt sense, but also paying attention to what's happening in your body. So, as a therapist, for instance, when I deal with clients, I pay attention to body language. I pay attention to where things are showing up in your body.

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See: Demystifying mindfulness - Mindfulness & spirituality - From mindless to mindful - One-minute mindfulness exercise - Mindful listening - Embodied relational mindfulness - Relational mindfulness - Bodyfulness - Existential mindfulness - Reactive vs Proactive quotes & thoughts - Mindfulness exercises - Secular alternative 12 steps