Developing An Accurate ‘Felt Sense’

Our whole body encompasses our physical, mental, emotional, energetic, and spiritual experiences. A felt sense resides deep within the intelligence of our bodies as a whole, it is beyond what we feel we know as a feeling.

For example: I can ‘know’ I am perfectly safe and still not ‘feel’ safe.

A ‘felt sense’ overrides all thinking and knowing at a mind level, it ventures beneath the surface of thoughts and feelings. A level of coherence between the body and mind, between past and present, needs you to slow down and come back to your wise inner senses. Come home to what you sense in your body.

“A felt sense is not a mental experience but a physical one. A bodily awareness of a situation or person or event. An internal aura that encompasses everything you feel and know about the given subject at a given time—encompasses it and communicates it to you all at once rather than detail by detail. Think of it as a taste, if you like, or a great musical chord that makes you feel a powerful impact, a big round unclear feeling.”

— Eugene Gendlin

This felt sense is an inward-moving invitation to listen from a place of stillness and connection. Devoting a heartfelt attention to this present moment, to the breath of life connecting you to all experiences. This ’felt sense’ is nurtured through compassionate self-sensing as opposed to self-censoring. A wiser self, a higher self is called into your attention and that which senses your undeniable connection to your body as a whole and all that surrounds you.

Your body listens and develops a ‘felt sense’, your nervous system is a major part of how you listen. It is in constant communication with the brain, heart, gut, and all our internal organs including our largest organ of all, our skin. Information is more than what you think and consume from external sources, it’s related to the language of your nervous system and body and how your body speaks through what it senses, remembers, and perceives.

A simple example of a ‘felt sense’ is a feeling that causes hair to rise on your body’s surface.  You may not see something tangible to warrant this, but the wisdom of your body picks up on resonance, on energy, on the nervous system states of other bodies. The body can sense someone looking at you from afar. You can sense peace within a clear spiritual space. A felt sense combines with an extra sensory perception and informs what we feel. The unmonitored mind then tries to make sense of it all and so the stories begin.

How do we make sense of our senses and decipher messages and discern their accuracy?

Feeling connected with your body as a whole is the only way to make sense of it all. You can begin to recognize regular occurring patterns of feelings, thoughts, sensations, and energy flow or stagnation. The body provides really useful information that indicates a template that can be tracked and traced to memories impressed upon your nervous system. The nervous system does not decipher time, it needs our conscious attention to help it reorientate to what is current from what is familiar. A felt sense of experiences from a different time and place can show up when something similar arises in the present moment.

When you pay attention to patterns, you can enquire and make repairs to fractures in the fabric of this all-encompassing superhighway of information. You can update the automatic interruptions with real-time interpretations to release stored energy related to intense stressors and general wear and tear of your nervous system. In other words, you can begin to provide current information and update the more easily triggered and over-vigilant stressed-out system.

A felt sense allows you to investigate the nudges and nuances weaved into your feelings and sensations at a very subtle and intelligent level. (Roseanne provides comprehensive resources to help you develop accuracy through this innate healing intelligence, visit for 1 to 1 individualized guidance )

Reorientation begins with a ‘felt sense of safety’

Re-establishing a sense of safety within the system and within your body as a whole begins by intentionally cultivating an ‘embodied felt sense of safety’.

You ideally experienced this within the womb and in your early days and years of life. You receive nonverbal cues of safety and connection from others through healthy attachments and co-regulation with early caregivers.

In the absence of this, you can go through life searching for something to help you make sense of your senses. Sometimes people end up searching in unhealthy ways and with unhealthy people.

The steps you take to integrate a felt sense of safety and help relocate yourself in this body, this time and place is a vital yet often overlooked foundational resource to begin healing and reorienting.

The power of your felt sense is accessible through intention, presence, and awareness. Over time you can feel safe to feel your emotions through the body and gently touch upon more descriptive qualities associated with emotions like “gripping, weight and heaviness” or “ heat and frozenness” or “warmth and ease.”

The wisdom is within the subtle layers of sensations and this is how the body fully feels the feelings. When you cultivate internal states of safety, stillness, peace, tranquility, joy, and ease you can begin to feel safe to feel all your feelings. You form a springboard to feel from and return to.

You help the resonance and energy of good sensations to bond with and nourish the nervous system. Embedding a felt sense deep into the cellular membrane and brain, requires a quality of listening beyond the limitations of the mind.

When you communicate through feeling your body and an embodied’ felt sense of safety’ you can begin to use the wisdom it has to offer, to help shift the intensity of what arises that may feel uncomfortable and threatening. Diffusing the energy and allowing the experience to feel tolerable and less invasive. You learn how not to overwhelm the nervous system while making processing feelings and emotions more accessible.

Your Presence is required 

“Presence is not some exotic state that we need to search for or manufacture. In the simplest terms, it is the felt sense of wakefulness, openness, and tenderness that arises when we are fully here and now with our experience ”

— Tara Brach

One’s own quality of a present felt sense creates and supports an internal environment to feel safe to feel. At the core of this is self-compassion, self-empathy, and a willingness to invest time in cultivating a baseline of nourishing felt senses including one of listening authentically and receiving your humanness while accepting your body’s innate ability to help you heal.

May you begin to establish and live by the accuracy of your felt senses


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