Following the Feeling

Varying sensations may serve or deter a trainee from attaining a goal or set of goals. Consider all different kinds of bodily feelings, including: temperature, vibrations, tension, trembling, grief and nervousness, to name a few.

As a result of becoming more comfortable and relaxed during performance training, a trainee may begin to feel sensations in and on the body that hadn’t been noticed before. Sensorial development may also be due to new experiences, like: practicing a new sport, meditation, or even mourning a death or surviving an accident.

Depending on one’s personality, reactions to these new sensations may vary from fear and concern to imagining that something is happening beyond the biological occurrences that result in the feeling itself. Learning about how a human body functions may help understand what one feels. Another means of understanding is interpretation outside of science. Many interpretive systems, like numerology and cosmology were developed in response to culture/tradition and a limitation of scientific understanding. In modern times, people turn away from science to explain new sensations for a variety of reasons, including confronting what science has not yet been able to explain.

Perhaps senses serve human beings as the set of white rectangular paddles serve the small white ball in a game of pong. Senses may help us navigate our way through life, however the feeling itself is nothing to focus on. Considering the pong analogy, imagine if the ball were to stick to the paddle once they touch – the ball would then be stuck, out of play. What if senses are meant to move us? Serving as something to bounce off-of and not stick to. Allow me to offer a real-life example of a sensorial experience that could distract one from training, or “staying in play.”

At 19 years old, I was in a fatal car accident and, after being pulled out of a burning suburban and laid onto the bed of a pick up truck nearby, I had what some may refer to as a “near-death experience.” Lying with holes and tears in most of my organs, my body went into protection mode, offering a feeling of numbness. As people tried to keep me awake, I went in and out of consciousness and had a very specific sensorial experience. I remember seeing a white light, floating, being aware of what was happening and not really caring that I was apparently dead. I didn’t worry or even think about loved ones, as I thought I would. I was simply content. I was formless and light. I had a choice and decided to get back into my body.

I struggled with this experience for a long time, trying to understand it. Needless to say, I was never satisfied with rational or irrational explanations for what I felt and continued to feel as a result. It was then that I realized I was stuck. To move forward, I needed to allow for ease and contentment in real time, not focusing on the future or the past.

This particular feeling was strong and I am genuinely still curious about it but life is not just about feelings. What if we are simply meant to continue moving forward, and stay in play? If I had continued to follow that blissful feeling, I’d be dead. To live in real time is not to live in the feeling, it’s to live with feeling. This is why training can be so beneficial.

Training involves a set of exercises done repetitively in order to develop skill and attain a goal. It also involves listening, resting, discipline, and change. Common reasons for quitting a training program are exhaustion, injury, or time. Our bodies are constantly changing as we confront new life experiences and the world changes around us. It is important to move forward in training respective to these dynamic elements. Whether it means to take time to rest or recover, train less often, change intensity levels or add elements to address new skills, like coordination and flexibility.

Feelings help us discern between uncomfortable sensations and good sensations. Consider that being a little uncomfortable may serve you, just as feeling too good may not. This is where discipline and discernment come into play. Longevity training develops balance, allowing one to stay in play and avoid getting stuck.


 Denise Horvilleur