Sensorimotor Awareness is the mindful study of the self in action. More than a method or clinical practice, it is the practical science of, and exploration into, our potential for gaining greater awareness and control in action as the basis for a new approach to living more mindfully and healthfully.
A Holistic Model of Awareness
Cultivating a mindful attitude toward living is central to the Dimon Institute’s philosophy. At the Institute, theory and research are put into action, providing a path for students to live more mindfully and healthfully based on a working knowledge of mind and body. More than a method or clinical practice, we explore psychophysical education through the practical science of increased awareness and control in activity.
Learning to be mindfully aware is a two-fold process that includes attention to everyday actions as well as the self-knowledge that comes from daily practice. At the Dimon Institute, we study mindfulness based on a unified model that combines an understanding of the body in action with the processes of attention as related aspects of a unified system. An understanding of these functions leads to practical knowledge that is both physical and psychological, constituting a truly holistic model of awareness that includes both mind and body, spirit and matter, combined into a complete model of the human being.
How the Body Works
Becoming kinesthetically aware based on an understanding of our upright support system represents a principal step in mastering the art of becoming more conscious in one’s activities. In this upright posture, we have a greater command of our surroundings than any other animal and are aware in a completely new way and, if we wish, can maintain a constant aware of what is around us.
Understanding how our awareness of ourselves can be heightened or brought to a new and conscious level by bringing about improved coordination is one of the fundamental emergent stages that takes place on the path toward becoming fully conscious. Learning to be aware of oneself based on the coordinated working of the bodily system is one of the first doors to be opened on the path toward mindfulness, a key to the practical problem of living more consciously. Doing this requires knowledge of the muscular system as well as the ability to think kinesthetically as a way of activating the bodily systems. In doing this, we gain a working knowledge of the self in action and thus opening up the possibility of a new kind of education based on heightened awareness and control in living.
Awareness in Action
Although we initiate action voluntarily, action itself takes place, as in animals, at a largely automatic and instinctive level. To perform actions in a balanced way, actions must be broken down and mastered at a conscious level. Assisted by daily guidance from a teacher, the student acquires detailed knowledge of how the body works in action, which leads to an increasing command of coordinated action. By focusing on simple actions, normally unconscious and habitual actions can be raised to a conscious level, establishing a new level of poise, balance, and calmness in action.
Awakening the Conscious Mind
Awareness in humans emerges in stages, beginning with the purely instinctive attention of infancy and leading to the ability to selectively attend and, along with this, to engage in formal learning. But these given stages of awareness are superseded by higher stages that include the ability to attend mindfully to what we’re doing, to quiet the mind, to maintain awareness without becoming distracted, and ultimately to see oneself more clearly.