Responsive to the World

Another function of felt meaning is that it responds to recognition and familiarity, to automatically constructed and perceived patterns, even for things and situations where you don’t have explicit language.

This particular sadness.
This particular excitement.
This particular kind of situation; it’s happening again.

If you pay attention when strong and clear felt meaning arises, you have the option to explore it further, to put words to it, if you want.

“This is like all these other times...”
“...and even though it’s really silly, a part of me is convinced that...”

It might take a while for the felt meaning to brighten and clarify. The words might not come immediately if you’re looking for them. But, what you might find when you look are ​confirmation and ​differentiation.

In ​confirmation, you might find that, “yes, this is true, I knew it all along.” You might feel clarity, relief, “clean pain,” or useful insight.

In ​differentiation, you might find the ways in which this current situation or recognition is different in some ways from what you initially thought. Maybe you are different, now. You’re older, stronger, and wiser. Maybe the situation is different, different people, different implications. The situation doesn’t mean what you initially thought it did. And, this too can bring clarity, relief, and useful insight.

These positive changes might not have happened if you didn’t look, if you didn’t take the time to explore the felt meaning.
What’s happening here is that reflection, exploration, and attention disrupt automaticity and habits so they can potentially change.
So much of our behaviors, feelings, and thoughts are automated or habitual. This is what gets us through the normal complexities of daily life. But, sometimes habits or patterns can become outdated or stale. They no longer serve us as well as they once did.

Paying attention in gentle, steady, methodical, exploratory, and precise ways can help us to implicitly update those older habits, meanings, and beliefs. You mind find felt meaning sometimes smoothly changes under your attention, in some sense all by itself (although you are helping), in personally important and valuable ways.
This is different than “reasoning things out,” and “thinking things through.” There’s nothing wrong with that; these are excellent things to do as well, and you can mix all that in with direct exploration of felt meaning.

What you might find is that paying attention to felt meaning directly, paying attention to what you really think and feel, more precisely than words, can more directly and smoothly lead to change. In some sense, felt meaning, Level 2, can be a more direct lever for change than language, Level 1. Though, of course, language and felt meaning can work excellently together.

In summary, felt meaning responds to the world, and you can respond to felt meaning, and positive changes in how you think, feel, and act towards the world may then occur.

learning felt meaning