Your Own Natural Intelligence (NI)
In an earlier post, I talked about how our “gut brains” contain many more neurons than our spinal cords. Here I’ll explore another amazing resource: the felt sense, which encompasses a distinctive quality of internal experience that registers in our bodies. If tapped, the felt sense becomes a powerful decision-making tool.
You can’t have a single thought, sensation or feeling without your body responding.
Psychologist Eugene Gendlin first coined the term “felt sense” in his seminal 1978 book Focusing. He describes it as “an internal aura that encompasses everything you feel and know about the given subject at a given time — and communicates it to you all at once rather than bit by bit.”
Think of the felt sense as our own personal metadata source.
Metadata is simply data about other data. It unifies large volumes of information and gives them meaning. It gives us descriptions and contexts of individual pieces and organises them into a coherent whole. This is exactly what happens when we tap our felt sense. And, we don’t need AI for this.
But while the most sophisticated AI computers are being built to mimic it, there’s absolutely nothing artificial about it. Because the felt sense is the most natural human intelligence of all.
A way to experience it is to think about sofa shopping.
The only way we can know that a sofa is comfortable is to actually sit on it. We can look at it and like what we see or not. We can listen to the salesperson tell us how great it is, and we can even run our hands over the armrest. But it’s not until we actually sit on it and relax into it that are we able to determine whether it is comfortable or not. When we do this we activate our internal felt sense about the sofa.
With intention and practice, we can do this beyond furniture shopping. We can tap our gut brains to access stronger guidance and deeper knowing. We are then able to connect to ourselves beyond thought and emotion and leverage the truly amazing physical organisms we are. And it is at this place that we can feel our infinite capacity for love, harmony, and joy.
Leaders today of any sort or configuration would be wise to cultivate this skill.
In doing so, we’re able to lead with both the brain and the gut.