Is there a word for this physical sensation?
April 11, 2019 3:21 AM   Subscribe

In the intro to My Grandmother's Hands by Resmaa Menakem, he writes "there will be times when your body will experience a sudden shock of recognition or understanding. Things you hadn’t fully grasped before may suddenly become clear. This might be followed by a rush of energy in the form of joy, or anger, or outrage, or a felt sense of clarity and rightness." Is there a word or phrase that describes that sensation?

I've read about trauma and its affect on the body (for example, Bessel van der Kolk's The Body Keeps the Score). I've also experienced this kind of recognition as profound relaxation as I've been acknowledging some deeply buried truths to myself. "Shock of recognition" pulls up a lot of unrelated phenomena in a Google search. I'd like to explore this more as it is a positive and liberating experience that is opening new worlds for me.
posted by kokaku to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

a jolt of realisation / understanding?
posted by Omnomnom at 3:44 AM on April 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

I’ve heard Buddhist teachers talk about “the world being suddenly flipped the right way up,” which matches the times I’ve had this feeling, at least in emotional/understanding situations. In intellectual ones, “the pieces falling into place” or “a key turning in a lock” seem more apt — that sensation of a “click” is important somehow.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:56 AM on April 11, 2019 [7 favorites]

posted by SaltySalticid at 4:48 AM on April 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

In 10:04, Ben Lerner writes about people feeling "the world suddenly rearrange itself around them."
posted by entropone at 5:05 AM on April 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by TheRaven at 6:49 AM on April 11, 2019

Eureka moment or Aha! moment
posted by alex1965 at 6:52 AM on April 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

If you're speaking of understanding of a particular, single thing, perhaps even something you weren't aware of not understanding: epiphany.

If you're speaking about a spiritual awakening or clarity then satori.

If you're speaking about solving a problem which has long eluded you, "eureka moment".
posted by dobbs at 7:09 AM on April 11, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you mean to describe specifically the physical sensation, maybe frisson. I think epiphany and the other suggestions so far tend to describe the whole experience, including both physical and cognitive aspects, rather than just the physical sensation.
posted by wps98 at 8:33 AM on April 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

A visceral response.
posted by jillithd at 9:48 AM on April 11, 2019

posted by j_curiouser at 9:52 AM on April 11, 2019

I would use “resonance”, or a “felt sense” (from Gendlin). I’m a therapist and the idea of the felt sense is the bodily experience of an insight, an understanding of something on a deep level beyond the purely cognitive, and when talking to clients about that I also use words like “it seemed like something really resonated with you there.”
posted by billiebee at 12:59 PM on April 11, 2019 [2 favorites]

the penny dropped
posted by momus_window at 1:46 PM on April 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

resonance is the word i use
posted by zdravo at 6:58 PM on April 11, 2019 [1 favorite]

This is part of the sensation cluster that can go with neural integration.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 11:13 PM on April 12, 2019

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