Intuition is immediate visceral knowing without knowledge.
In Chapter 5 of Anchored the author clarifies that the word “neuroception” that her mentor, Stephen Porges created, is really just another synonym for “intuition.” Neuroception is our autonomic intuition. Because our autonomic nervous systems operate mainly outside of our consciousness, neuroception can be a useful way for me feel my body instead of thinking about it.
Befriending my Automatic Body Response to Stress
Now I am liking this new word ‘neuroception’ a little bit more than when I first began reading the clinical psychology book ANCHORED, How to Befriend Your (AUTOMATIC) Nervous System, by Deb Dana, LCSW. Notice that I re-titled Ms. Dana’s book to highlight her polyvagal emphasis on the automatic nervous system because one of the core teachings of Polyvagal Theory is that this deep level of healing is all about the autonomic or automatic nervous system.
As a trauma survivor I tend to exist in a chronic state of survival where the slightest stressor launches me into automatic freak out. Polyvagal enlightened me as to why I am a yogi most of the time but when stressed out in-the-moment, I lose it and retreat into my asocial lizard brain or violent monkey brain instead of listening to my body and letting my autonomic intuition lead me back to safety inside my own body.
PRACTISE EXERCISE: Swing back into your rage for no reason when you are calm and safe at home alone
By adding perception to the autonomic process of neuroception, I am no longer simply in the state of chronic survival mode; I am now able to be with my body-rage, observe it and pendulate with it.
Pendulation is a word invented by the brilliant trauma healer Peter Levine in his groundbreaking book Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma. After I am totally calm and appropriately distanced from the scene of my body-rage, I pendulate back into the same feeling of rage but this time without the trigger. Sitting here at my desk writing these words I am now consciously letting myself feel the rage. The only way out of my road rage is become rage incarnate in order to master my fear and anger. I transform my road rage into an angry child that needs my love. Peter Levine created his franchise called Somatic Experiencing just like Stephen Porges created Polyvagal Theory.
Adverse Childhood Experiences teach us to ignore our intuition and tune out the trauma. As children some of us had our intuition beaten out of use either emotionally or physically by negligent parents.
Watch this video where Peter Levine explains how trauma shuts us down and how we can pendulate and expand out of it in a body flow of contracting and expanding energy.