Naming our experience

At some point in your life you likely had a pet, and right now you may share your life with a beloved pet. Think for a moment about your pet, about that special connection. Now, quietly breathe your pet’s name. You will probably notice a soothing effect, maybe a smile on your face and in your heart. Just focusing on your relationship with your pet probably lowers your blood pressure, slows your heart, and relaxes your body.

Now imagine your pet, but with no name. It is just an animal living in your house, but it does not have a name. You call it “It” in an impersonal way. The relationship changes and you do not feel that same connection.

This is what happens when we fail to name our experience.  Naming our experience involves wrapping words around the experience of self in the moment. There is some evidence that in the human brain words are special connectors between the limbic system (emotional mind) and the neocortex (rational mind). Using words to artfully describe experience blends our emotional and rational mind.

If you have ever been touched by poetry or the lyrics of a song, you know what I am talking about. What if your life is a poem waiting to be written or a song yet unsung? Describing your experience is a first step.

Try this simple exercise. After you read this blog, for the next period of time, maybe an hour, narrate your experience within your own mind.  Simply describe moment by moment all the aspects of your experience–sensory, mental, and emotional. And try to describe it in language that is non-judgmental. You will notice and absorb aspects of experience usually unnoticed and unnamed. This will expand your awareness and you will have a deeper perception of the nature of your existence–a luscious blend of thought, feeling, and body awareness. You may experience a spontaneous sense of joy or gratitude for your existence, and as you continue to describe your eyes will be opened to the wonder of the present moment. And your mind can see the balance between pleasure and pain.

As you observe your experience and describe it, it will be more completely yours.