Are You an Innie or an Outie?

Let’s start by getting real nutshell: Most (all?) of what we talk about on Bliss+Grit is a shift of our awareness; Shifting from perceiving the world through the lens of the thoughts and beliefs that spring out of our conditioned selves, to perceiving the world from the sense organ of our whole Being.

“Whole Being” requires a little explanation, in that specifically we mean deep undivided contact with our bodies, and with the space they exist in- i.e. the world out there. If we can hone this new sense organ, we are going to have a very different experience of our lives.

It is the road to the end of “second arrow” suffering, i.e. suffering about suffering (example: “Why can’t I get over this grief, what is wrong with me?!”) or anticipating suffering (example: “If I don’t go to the right school, I will never succeed in life.”)

With the end of second arrow, or unnecessary, suffering, tuning the sense organ of our Being then is the road to a more nourishing, open, anxiety-free, intuitive, and satisfying, flow-based life. We can really be here for our lives as they happen, whatever they bring in, rather than only experiencing our lives in the rear-view mirror or as an imagined future. In other words, it is kind of a big deal for people like us, i.e. people who wind up reading articles like this one.

A moment here to look at the troublesome nature of words. Especially when talking about the direct experience of Being. Maddening! But words are what we’ve got, so what follows is a brief glossary. The teachers we have spoken to have used a myriad of words to describe this “new sense organ*” that I am writing about. All are wonderful pointers, one or two are likely to be more useful for you, so here is a collection of words from various skilled teachers who we have had on the show and/or have studied with in person:

  • Presence

  • Awareness

  • Awake awareness

  • Fundamental consciousness

  • Direct experience

  • Ground of Being

Terminology aside, I think we can all agree we want to get us some of that.

In service of getting us all some of that, here is an important though infrequently talked about distinction that I continue to discover in my own work and with clients as we all cultivate living from Being: there are innies, and there are outies.

It is no surprise that many of the teachers we have spoken to have also pointed to this phenomenon- we spoke about it recently with Neelam, Loch Kelly pointed to this issue very succinctly and clearly in our episode with him, and in our training with Judith Blackstone she does an exquisite job of giving equal value to the space “in here” and the space “out there” as the continuous, pervading space of fundamental consciousness.

Specifically I am saying that we all tend to fall in one of two camps initially as we hone the sense organ of Being: some of us discover and can explore what we can call fundamental consciousness when we tune in to our bodies, the innies, and some of us discover it when we tune to the space outside of our bodies, the outies.

Here’s a quick check-in to see which you currently are, it is adapted from a Judith Blackstone exercise in The Realization Process, though she didn’t use it to differentiate who is an innie or an outie as I am here:

Sit with your hands resting on your thighs.

Feel the weight of your hands on your thighs. Feel the seam of differentiation between palm and thigh.

Feel the air on the backs of your hands.

Now switch your orientation to feel that you are inside your hands.

You inhabit the internal space of your hands- whatever that feels like to you.

When you switched to inhabiting the internal space of your hands did you feel a spike of anxiety? Then you may be an outie.

When you switched to inhabiting the internal space of your hands did you feel a relaxed sense of sinking in and also widening out energetically? Then you may be an innie.

Why does this matter? Because if you force yourself into the orientation that doesn’t work for you, you will feel worse instead of better. If you find the orientation that does work for you, you’re on the road to freedom baby.

So another test of if you are an innie or an outie can be: which have you been using? Do you feel worse- i.e. triggered, lost in space, consumed by either gnarly emotions and/or dissociation, filled with anxiety spikes? Then try switching it up.

Innie approaches would be things like body-scans, or deep awareness of the “in here”. Outie approaches would be things like feeling supported physically by the space (feeling the ground under you for one example), or utilizing inquiry of the “out there” (example 1: Loch Kelly’s inquiry, “What is here right now if there isn’t a problem to solve?”. Example 2: even simply noting what the room you are currently in really looks like, really seeing it.)

Ultimately where we are all headed is an ability to inhabit both the self and the world at the same time. And feel supported by, really to feel that we are, deeply, both. On the road, find the orientation that gives you the most nourishment.