Sensation as the cure to overthinking

Have you ever wondered what ‘overthinking’ is and why it occurs?

Overthinking is excessive mental activity such as analyzing, rationalizing, judging and categorizing. It’s the incessant process of collecting facts and building stories to understand why things are the way they are.

Overthinking is basically an obsessive need to know. You believe that the more you know, the more you can get what you want. However, when overthinking is your default mode, it’s like hopping around on one leg and ignoring that using your second leg would allow you to walk: You exhaust yourself and limit your capacity to move forward in life.

Here’s a surprising realization to come to: we have a limited understanding of understanding. We believe there is only one way to understand life, when really there are two: Mental understanding occurs when one collects and analyzes information; experiential understanding occurs simply by being with the sensation of a person, thing, place or event – without thinking about it.

When you favor the pursuit of mental understanding, you learn things superficially. New learnings feel like foreign objects in the mind which you never fully connect with. When you step into sensation and seek experiential understanding, new learnings integrate deeply within you and get woven into the fibers of your existence. Suddenly, something in you unlocks. You experience true knowing – and personal transformation.

Experiential understanding introduces feelings of exhilaration and universal connectedness. Your perception of reality starts to shift and suddenly you feel a deeper sense of meaning and wonder. Although mental understanding isn’t a bad thing and shouldn’t be discarded – it needs to be balanced with experiential understanding. Because we live in an overthinking society, the goal is to spend more time in sensation-only spaces.

Everything in the universe carries a unique vibrational ‘flavor’ which you are wired to feel – through sensation. When you step into sensation mode, you become aware that vibration emanates from all people, things, places and events. Sensation is not controlled by the rational mind. When you sense vibration, you do so without attaching a story or explanation to it.

Here’s are four experiments to help you experience sensation and vibration more consciously. You may feel more attuned or sensitive to the vibrations of certain categories, which is fine. Just play and have fun exploring whatever beckons you.

To enter sensation mode, focus your attention on your heart and gut. You can also scan your physical body and notice how it feels during the experiment. Attune to the areas within your physical body as well as a few feet beyond it, which is your energy body.

  • Experiment #1: Recall two salient events in your life, one positive and one negative. What sensations arise and where do you feel more sensation as you scan yourself?
  • Experiment #2: What feeling are you met with the moment you open your eyes in the morning? What ambiance has your sleep state instilled in you, even if you don’t recall your dreams? Try this for a week and experiment with different times of the day.
  • Experiment #3: Visit your co-workers’ office spaces or different restaurant venues. As soon as you walk into those spaces, notice what you instinctively feel.
  • Experiment #4: Choose five songs you love and five you hate. Putting the lyrics aside, what sensations do they evoke in you?

Here are a few questions to help you reflect experientially on the experiments.

  • Did an odd mix of emotions surface?
  • Did you feel like ‘bursting’ with particular feelings?
  • Did you feel lightness and airiness or heaviness and density?
  • Did you feel business and intensity or calming and soothing?
  • Did the vibration boost your energy or deplete you?
  • Did you feel expansion or constriction?
  • Did you want to move or be still?
  • Did you imagine surreal things?
  • Were you attracted or repelled by the vibration?

Initially, the exercise may feel elusive. Your mind will naturally want to hijack the process and you’ll miss out on sensation. At first, when your sensitivity is low, vibrations feel subtle or even imperceptible. With practice, your “antennae” will become more sensitive and will pick up more data.

If you’re wondering whether you’re in the zone of sensation, here’s a telltale sign: Language can’t convey what you’re feeling. You can, however, try to describe your experience in deliberately nonsensical ways, like describing how your senses converged (e.g., the song felt like a triangle pulsating out of my heart). Nonetheless, words will never transmit all of what you feel because your experience is beyond logic and reason. Congratulations! You just broke through the barriers of the mind and the physical world!

The most important lesson of the experiments is to SIMPLY BE WITH pleasant and painful sensations for extended periods of time, without rationalizing. You will clear pain, open your intuitive channels, and make better decisions with your life. With practice and patience, you will expand your ability to sense the world and all it has to offer – and it is well worth the effort.