Annie Murphy Paul

‘What we call a gut feeling or what psychologists, what scientists call interoception… is the perception of internal sensations that arise from within the body. And people who are more attuned to those internal signals and cues are better able to draw on that wealth of information that we know but we don’t know. We possess it, but we don’t know it explicitly or consciously. So that’s what a gut feeling is. It’s sort of your body tugging at your mental sleeve and saying, hey, you’ve been here before. You’ve had this experience before. Here’s how you responded. It worked or it didn’t work. Here’s what is the right thing to do now…

When we speak to someone face to face, we very subtly mimic their expressions, their posture, their demeanor, and then we kind of read off from our own bodies what that feels like, what emotion is being created within us.

And that’s how we know how other people are feeling. That’s kind of the basis of empathy and emotional intelligence. And again, studies suggest that people who are more introceptively aware are able to be more empathetic. They’re able to be more accurate in how they understand other people, because they’re using their own body as a conduit to connect with the feelings inside that other person.’ (from the New York Times)

Reading this extract again, I wondered if we become more sensitive to these internal cues through meditation, or if perhaps our sensitivity leads us to meditation in the first place, as a way to give time and space to these responses.

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