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  • The Art and Act of Perceiving

    Click here to read Part 1: The Sky and Earth of Orienting.  

    What is Perception? 

    Perception occurs moment to moment as we notice our environment (exteroception), how we feel (interoception) and where we are (proprioception). 

    We perceive using our 5 senses, and our inner ear and nerve receptors that are located in our fascial web. We could say we have 7 senses. 

    • Seeing – through our eyes 

    • Hearing – through our ears 

    • Touching – through our skin 

    • Smelling – through our nose 

    • Tasting – through our tongue 

    • Balancing – through our inner ear 

    • Body sensing – through our fascial web

    The Three Modes of Perception 

    Exteroception  

    Occurs when we perceive the outside world. 

    It is an active engagement with the world through the senses and it is the most familiar style of perceiving for most western people.  

    • Yang (masculine) 

    • Outer 

    • Space orienting 

    • Expression capacity 

    • “I actively see, touch, smell the world and I penetrate the space” 

    Embodiment: Can I consciously notice myself as I actively smell, touch, hear, taste and see the world? Can I penetrate the space with my gesture or voice. 

    Imagine a person shooting with bow and arrow. I am the arrow.

    Interoception 

    Occurs when we are aware of our internal experience.  We know our internal space through body sensations. These body sensations are registered by nerve receptors in the fascial web. We feel physical needs like hunger, thirst, need to urinate, sleepiness etc. We also register our emotional experience through these body sensations. 

    This is a receptive mode and tends to be less familliar than exteroperception. 

    • Yin (feminine)

    • Inner 

    • Ground orienting 

    • Impression capacity 

    • “I receive the sight, touch and smell of the world, I feel my internal space. 

    Embodiment: Can I open to allow myself to be touched by the world.  Can I consciously feel the ‘impressions’; the sounds, touches, sights, smells and tastes of the world.  I feel the impressions as body sensations. For example, the vibrations of the music touching my bones. 

    Imagine a person shooting a bow and arrow, I am the bow. 

    Proprioception 

    Occurs when I perceive my body in space.  Proprioception utilises the eyes, the inner ear and the nerve receptors located in the fascial web. 

    • I can feel where my body is,
    • I can judge distance,
    • I can feel where I am in relation to others. 
    • I am graceful, efficient and stable.   

    Embodiment: I am alive in my fascial web, I feel myself from my toes to my nose, from my fingers to my sit bones, my eyes perceive the landscape and my feet feel the gravity.  When I move I am whole like a martial artist.  

    Imagine a person shooting a bow and arrow.  I am the person.  

    Perception is not static.  Perception is an ongoing participatory event.  The way I perceive the world depends on my history and my expectations.  It depends on my mood and my beliefs.  We can perceive in narrow familiar ways, where we expect what has come before.  Or we can perceive freshly each moment, each day, taking in our experience as it is right here right now. This way is a creative way, it is more vulnerable, and it allows us to continue updating our beliefs, our expectations and our life narrative.  Living ieverchanging, flowing like a stream, rather than a safe but restrictive fish bowl. 

    Embodiment: Imagine seeing the world for the first time.  Imagine you have the eyes of wonder like a baby.  Every new smell, colour and sound is unique and deserving of attention, of interest.  How does this affect what you see, how you feel and the way you are in your body? Does it change your fascial expression? Does it change the way you move?