Sensation Vs Situation


I want to discuss a contrast between sensations and situations and how they play into our experience. One is very much a matter of our physical body, and one is a creation of thought.

As I write this, it is 3:20am. I’ve been up since 2:00am. I am usually a 4:30am riser, but today nerve pain has me awake early.

Thirteen years ago I hurt my back, and I am still numb and weak throughout much of my left leg and foot. Occasionally, I have a shooting pain in my left outside foot. To me, it feels like getting jolt of electricity from a common household live wire. It seems to happen about once a minute to ten seconds. This is the sensation part of my experience.

The situation part of this experience is the implication(s) of the pain. For example, I might think, “This is horrible. How awful. I can’t take it anymore. Why me? Will it ever stop?”

From a certain mood or mindset, these thoughts flow naturally. While this is normal and just what is going to occur from time to time, I also like to consider that I have some influence over my response (when I remember that I have it).

I think it’s easy to see how the situations I am creating in my mind could be interpreted differently, let’s say, by me in a different mood. I might think any of the following thoughts: “It feels like I’m getting a jolt of electricity, which is by no means pleasant, but it is not unbearable. Hmmmm, how interesting that this seems to come and go without warning. Thank goodness this only happens about once a year or so. I wonder how long this will last. No matter how long it lasts, I’ll deal with it. People experience so much worse.”

The sensation is a matter of biology, but the interpret of it as a certain situation requires personal thought. When I am no longer just having the sensory experience but am considering implications of the sensory experience, now I am creating a situation in my mind, which is truly something much different from my sensory experience.

We do this with many internal sensations. For example, consider how differently we sometimes interpret a racing heartbeat. Sometimes we understand it as an effect of climbing stairs or exercising, and other times we interpret it as a signal of impending doom. The two sensations are very similar, but the thoughts about the sensation can make the situations and experiences different for us.

So what’s my point? I just want to point out the difference between sensations and situations. I think you will be able to draw your own conclusions and interpret in a way that suits your needs. I also think your understanding of this topic will naturally open your awareness, and you will begin to naturally draw distinctions between sensations and situations. Perhaps in this awareness, you will gain the freedom of understanding our experience of living exists above the situation.

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