Getting to Know Yourself Through Sensation
We know much more about ourselves than we are used to thinking. If people learn to listen to their inner voice, to feel and make the connection between what is inside and outside stronger, they can make their lives more interesting and fruitful, believes Tatyana Gorelova. She is an expert exploring the topic of self-cognition and a specialist in head massage and meditation. By means of working with clients in the salon and through her blog, Tatyana Gorelova helps people get to know themselves and discover their potential.
ACCESS BARS facilitator, expert in mindfulness and self-cognition, mother of three children
The Global Women Media news agency continues to tell its readers about the authors of interesting and outstanding projects presented at the All-Russian Congress of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs at the Grebnevo Estate.
Tatyana Gorelova has been developing various self-cognition methods for more than 6 years. One of the main techniques and methods of the expert is related to the ACCESS BARS massage. Tatyana Gorelova believes that self-knowledge is a complex process requiring proper development, kindness towards oneself, flexible thinking, and recognition of one’s own feelings. Massage and other body-focused and energy-oriented practices can contribute to that process positively.
– According to you, we know much more about ourselves than it can seem. How can one discover this knowledge in oneself? How should one start the process of self-cognition?
– Self-cognition is based on people’s understanding of the processes happening to them, the ability to convey their feelings, emotions, and thoughts to the outside world, and their responsibility before themselves and others. This is a very serious ‘adult’ topic because that is about how spiritual maturity manifests itself in a person.
A person immersed in self-cognition and getting to know him- or herself is able to learn new skills and undergo training quickly and efficiently. It is easier for him or her to communicate with other people and to fulfil his or her potential.
We can draw an amusing but accurate parallel by comparing people to squirrels. During our lives, we accumulate an enormous amount of information somehow affecting our personalities. However, the amount of that information is so large that we forget about most of what we ‘store’. To find the necessary and important ‘grains’ of knowledge within ourselves, we need to turn to self-cognition. One must be prepared for the fact that the process may take a long time and be not always pleasant.
The human brain undergoes certain stages of development and 'programming'. Many of our attitudes and beliefs are formed at a subconscious level. For example, a young child sees a cartoon character that impresses him or her for some reason. That image will be firmly fixed in the child’s mind. When that person grows up, he or she may not even remember that situation but the identification will most likely be reflected in his or her behaviour or worldview.
Books, films, news from the media, and interaction with other people shape our perception of ourselves but not our knowledge of ourselves. However, it is important to understand that some attitudes and beliefs acquired in that way are not always our own. Sometimes we ‘absorb’ thoughts, emotions, and feelings that have no connection to ourselves. That happens particularly often in childhood when we are more sensitive to the states of others. For example, even if parents quarrel but decide not to demonstrate that, the children will feel the tension within the family and may think that he or she is the cause of it.
Oftentimes, such ‘absorbed’ conflicts of other people lead to experiencing crises and difficulties in adapting to different situations in life when we get older.
As we all know from our own experience, being with a happy person is much more comfortable than being with someone who is sad, angry, or irritated. It happens because of the fact that we receive information about the states of others through sensation.
The process of self-cognition starts with the idea that we may be not who we think we are. In such moments, we think that we are not just living in accordance with our ‘installed programs’ and are guided not just by our own values. Just become curious about yourself and admit that all that you know about yourself may represent only a part of your ‘true self’. Oftentimes, such a thought confuses people at first. However, after getting used to it, you will discover the enormous potential within you. Thus, people become more conscious of their decision making, start listening to their inner voice, asking themselves questions, and looking for answers.
As soon as we open our minds to learning something new about ourselves and allowing ourselves to be interested in something completely foreign, we immerse ourselves in a new world full of discoveries and inspiration.
– Can you give us an example of how that works?
– For example, an adult businessman in a suit walks home from work every day through the park where bachata classes take place in the evenings. He is well aware of discipline, strictness, duties, and responsibilities. That serious man had never paid attention to carefree dancers before because his subconsciousness couldn’t ever admit that it might be interesting. However, as soon as he leaves strictness ‘in the office’ and turns to an activity he has never done before, the world of new opportunities opens up before him.
Interestingly, most people rarely listen to their inner voice and complicate their own lives because of that.
For instance, a person had a heat stroke many years ago and realised that he or she doesn’t like the heat. This belief becomes an argument in his or her decision-making and a certain limitation. A person’s attitude towards heat was formed by an unpleasant experience. Perhaps, if thinking about not the heat itself but a long stay in the sun as the direct reason for that experience, a person would have enjoyed going on holiday to the sea and would have been energized by the sun. However, the deeply rooted beliefs and attitudes in his or her mind do not allow him or her to do so. A person remembers and relives the discomfort and limitation time after time.
– How is head massage related to self-cognition?
– They are interrelated in the most direct way. ACCESS BARS is an acupressure head massage, which also affects the human brain. The technique was developed by Gary Douglas and Dain Heer decades ago and has already proven its effectiveness worldwide.
When I work with the ACCESS BARS technique, I help to release stress, tension, and fatigue by touching certain points on the person’s head lightly. Thanks to that, the client’s general condition improves and the body acquires the necessary resources for quick recovery and activity. After the massage, the client notices visible changes: he or she has a better effect from sleeping in a shorter time, generates more interesting ideas, and finds unusual ways of solving problems quicker. That happens thanks to the fact that the client doesn’t experience the tension that limited him or her before.
We are open to dialogue with the world, ourselves, and others only when we are relaxed and calm.
When we are in a state of fatigue, many things can irritate us. As a rule, in such moments, we find it more difficult to accept other people’s points of view, different from our own ones. The world around us changes, develops, and flourishes while we continue to live our lives focusing on our own attitudes and choosing well-checked paths only.
However, after releasing the inner tension, we let our brain accept new information. Then, when hearing an unusual or unfamiliar point of view, we do not start quarrelling but simply say that our interlocutor has an interesting idea and ask him or her to tell us more about it. We start understanding that people see the world differently and that we should not adjust to them or to ourselves but learn to communicate, hear, and accept one another’s points of view.
– Does the self-cognition process lead to happiness? What factors determine a person’s happiness?
– Happiness depends on a person’s attitude towards life, which is formed in the process of self-cognition.
When people are happy, they feel light and free. That happens because of the absence of thoughts and inner dialogues at that moment. If we start to remember moments of happiness that we have experienced, we will understand that we are happy precisely at those moments when our mind seems to be ‘turned off’.
The better a person can create an atmosphere of calmness and silence within, the more often he or she is able to experience happiness.
Based on what I’m talking about, one can assume that thinking is bad. That is not true. A person needs to think, it is the only way how he or she can develop and get to know him- or herself better. However, thinking properly is another skill that one should master. Once I saw an interesting phrase on the net that really inspired me. I think it was a quote from a book or a film. “Learn to choose your thoughts every day like choosing clothes in a wardrobe”.
I believe that the ability to think in a targeted way and to concentrate on what is important at a particular moment is one of the important mindfulness skills. If one is eating, it is more correct to focus on the taste sensations, if one is driving, one should concentrate on the road. When working, one should immerse oneself fully in the process of completing tasks. This is a very difficult but important skill making it possible to get rid of unnecessary and distracting internal dialogues. Thus, people learn to stop living in ‘autopilot mode’.
For example, when we go to bed, we often remember the events that happened to us during the day. We reflect on the options of acting differently in past situations. Sometimes we are tortured by anxiety and excitement, and that prevents us from falling asleep for a long time. All those are internal dialogues that do not make us happier or healthier. I recommend focusing on your body in such moments, relaxing your muscles consciously and thus releasing the tension that has accumulated during the day. You also need to watch your breath, notice how cool the air is when you inhale and how warm it is when you exhale.
We are where our attention is. As long as our brain is focused on doubts and worries, we can’t reach happiness.
– The ACCESS technique includes many tools and exercises. Which of them are the most effective and accessible for people without special training?
– I often advise my clients to perform one of the basic ACCESS exercises. It is called ‘Whose Is It?’. As I have already mentioned, we don’t always understand the nature of our own feelings and emotions. For example, we feel uncomfortable on public transport or in a shopping centre without knowing the reason. That happens when there are people around us who are annoyed, tired, angry, or furious. We may not see those people but feel on a subconscious level the tension they are experiencing. That is why people with a high level of empathy find it difficult to be in crowded places. They are very sensitive to the moods of others and that exhausts them very much.
The essence of the exercise is to concentrate on your feelings when emotions or feelings arise for no apparent reason. Ask yourself the following questions. Whose feeling is that? Am I experiencing my own emotions? If yes, what is their cause?
If the feelings really belong to you, you will identify the source of the tension by asking yourself. Sometimes this conscious attitude helps us understand that there is no reason for such emotions or feelings. Then they disappear on their own.
This is a story about listening to oneself and finding the balance between inner and outer states.
Another mindfulness exercise is called ‘Easy or Hard’. It presupposes concentrating on how you feel when making all kinds of decisions.
For example, a girl is invited by a friend to spend the evening together and have coffee in a restaurant. For some reason, she can’t decide whether she wants to do that. It is enough to turn that proposal into the first-person affirmative sentence “I’m going to the restaurant with my friend” and listen to your inner feelings. If the body feels light and the soul is calm, the reason for rejecting the invitation is contrived or insignificant. For example, you may not like that particular restaurant. On the other hand, if you feel heaviness and discomfort, then the body is signalling that it does not have enough resources to do these things and needs something else.
The exercise works well for any decision: whether to stay at work till late or go to work earlier the next day, go for a run or get some sleep, spend time in peace and quiet or have active rest.
Our body already knows the answers to many questions that confuse us. It is important not to ignore its signals.
The more often we ask ourselves and listen to what our body is answering, the stronger our connection with our inner voice becomes. That gives us more resources as well.
– What inspires you?
I love unleashing people’s potential and seeing how the knowledge and practices that I share with them change their lives. These are not templates or specific rules but keys that help people find valuable resources within themselves. This summer, I launched an online intensive course aimed at reconnecting and strengthening people’s ties with their inner voices and establishing a conscious attitude towards life. The feedback from the participants motivated me to continue developing this project.
Of course, my four children inspire me very much too. They are all very different and watching them grow up and prove themselves is very interesting and encouraging for me. When bringing them up, I feel that I am making a really valuable contribution to shaping the future of our world. The thing is that the future depends entirely on the younger generation that will live in it.
– What would you wish women of the world?
– I would like them to always remember that each one of them has a huge potential within. It is important not to hide it but to embrace, recognize, and use it to the maximum.
I would also like women worldwide to consider one another as supporters rather than rivals. We are all very different and that is why we are so interested in one another. If we understand and listen to women from other countries, cultures, and professions, we can create amazing things together.
Viktoria Gusakova, Global Women Media news agency
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov