The second stage of experience comes after rest and before action. This stage ends when we act on the basis of our perception.

 It is the stage of recognition or awareness.Â

This stage may get lost but it is very important. It is the stage of clarifying our perception. It may be a perception of what is going on for us either inside or outside our skin. Our attention may be grabbed by a sight or sound beyond our skin or some kind of sensation within our skin.

If we are willing to stay with our perception usually we will gain a clearer grasp of what it is that is grabbing our attention.Â

This can be important. We may find out that an empty feeling in our stomach indicates anger not hunger. We may learn to appreciate the different aspects of music – to distinguish the melody and the harmony (or if you are as bad as me at music appreciation, to distinguish the lyrics and the music and how they fit together and how they add to each other – or how they don’t).

This is very important information for guiding our action. It matters whether we are looking for a way to do something with our anger or a good meal. If we learn what we like about music this may open up many possibilities about what we can enjoy. Knowing we enjoy the melody in middle-of-the-road pop songs could lead us to particular kinds of orchestral music. Enjoying the grandiosity of opera could lead us to investigate prog rock.

The clearer we are in our perception the more likely we are to direct our action to clear ends, and give ourselves the best chance of achieving satisfaction. If we are unclear about what we want – or what we are perceiving – it is much harder to get what we want.

Do you find it easy to be clear about what you are perceiving? Do you find it easier to be clear about what is going on inside your skin or outside it? What areas do you find easy to be clear about? What areas are harder for you?

The other articles in this series are:

Rest: Eight Stages of Experience #1

Looking Around: Eight Stages of Experience #3

Focussing: Eight Stages of Experience #4

Beginning to Act: Eight Stages of Experience #5

Engagement: Eight Stages of Experience #6

Satisfied? Eight Stages of Experience #7

Growth and Learning: the 8th stage of experience.

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