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Proprioception: Hidden Sensation

Proprioceptors: these are small sensory organs nestled among the fibers of tendons in joints. They respond to compression from various angles and report to the brain command center what position a particular body part is in and how fast it is moving. This is key because the brain command center uses this info to predict where you will be by the time motor command directions get to your moving parts. The perfect choreography between proprioceptors and motor cortex is what allows smooth movement. Michael Jordan must have REALLY good proprioceptors. In fact, I wonder if God created him with a few extra. But then, that is for God to say, not me.

The cool thing is: we’ve got little sensors in our bodies that allow us to ‘know’ what position our body is in even when we’re not looking at it.

Try this: put your arm behind your back (no peeking) and bend your elbow to 90 degrees. Are you there? (ok, now you can check) I’ll bet you are pretty close. So, how did you know how much to bend your elbow? Yep – your proprioceptors were reporting in on you, and you didn’t even know it!

Sorry – got a little carried away there. So what’s my point? We were created with a mechanism in place which sends and receives signals (subconscious signals) about movement. An internal sensor of external movement. Doesn’t that just sound like something God would do? In fact, it sounds so good I’ll bet God might even use that design somewhere else.

Like in our thoughts, or our memories or our lives. Does He plant something inside (God GPS, let’s call it a G-chip) that matches our experience to our response? Perhaps it taps just the right words when you need them? or just the right image when it’s called for? or just the right feeling when it’s called out? All without our conscious thought. It would be the connection between stored ability and His intended matched response.  Imagine how quickly that routing system would have to be.

Unless we tried to think about it. Thinking, puzzling, analyzing – those would pretty much bring the system to halt. It’s the sort of reflexiveness, the automaticity that allows effectiveness. A trust. I think the best I can do, and I do think God intends for me to do my part, is to fill up the library of things upon which God can call. Pour in the good thinking, the powerful words, the amazing experiences, the beautiful images. Reflect on them. Settle them deeply. All part of the reference library.

Ha! My kids can hardly conceive of the stacks I think of when I call to mind a well-stocked library. No, they think of countless wireless connections, circuitry that is silent, specific and super fast and all accessible by a small keyboard or a button on a smart phone. What we couldn’t even imagine, they expect immediately. “What! No wireless! Let’s go somewhere else!”

More than I can ask or imagine, that’s what the God I know offers. But He uses the raw materials at hand – me and you.

Oh come on. Haven’t you ever come up with words or an image that were just right and thought…where did that come from?

Don’t Just Stand There, Move

The anatomy and physiology book from which I used to teach college students states, “Biologists have found that all living things share certain basic characteristics, including the following (in this order): responsiveness, growth and differentiation, reproduction, movement (internal or external), metabolism and excretion.

By internal movement, they mean the movement of things inside the organism. By external movement, they mean that the organism moves its whole self through its environment.

Things that are alive exhibit all these things. So, for abundant life, one maximizes the whole list, right? or does one take care to discern things that are life-giving and to steer clear of things that rob us of life? As a kinesthetic Christian, I find that I have a great deal of trouble doing this discernment when I sit still. Yes, scripture and numerous faithful people have advised, “Wendy, just be still and know.”

Thing is, stillness, especially with my eyes shut, invites mind-wandering and distraction. I find focus when I’m moving (and I find this is most safely done with my eyes open.) Not, necessarily with intended or pre-meditated movement, but just in allowing my body to move as it will. Or in a rhythmic, practiced sort of movement that comes naturally – like swimming laps or jogging on the flat. Sort of an “out of body experience, using my body.”

Another thing is when I am faced with indecision and at a standstill – still, especially stalled, not good for me, remember? – I lift the options in my mind (one might call it prayer) and find myself moving toward one option and away from the other. I haven’t made this decision consciously, but it’s been made. Then I proceed, slowly at first, until the Spirit confirms the direction by picking up steam.

What is Spirit steam? It’s an “aha, now I see it” or a “that’s just what I meant to say and now I see how to write it” or perhaps it is another person who offers verbal confirmation.

Of course I have learned the hard way that one must always be looking for stop signs and yield signs along this way, too. The sort of “you’ve gotten this wrong” or “I’ve changed my mind” indicator moments. Does God change his mind? I’m not sure. Usually I presume it’s me and not God who has re-routed, but I have learned that even the time headed down the “wrong path,” is redeemable. Something here is to be avoided or something here is to be learned. Perhaps next time I will need it. Perhaps next time I will heed it and it will keep me from veering off course.

But enough about the external movement, it’s the internal movement that really piques my interest. Not the motion of fluids or heart or lungs, all good, but the internal sensor of external movement. THAT speaks to me of God, sort of a God implanted GPS chip. Let’s chat about that tomorrow.

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