Sensation Filtering

The human body is a noisy environment which may only be consciously sensed with attention or when bodily rhythms are abnormal. The integration of the mind-body complex means that noise level has knock-on effects.

Breathing air flow is audible; heart pumping palpable. Somatosensory nerves regularly complain about the tissues they are within or connected to: relating some minuscule status change. Yet none of these signals commonly become conscious without focus.

(The somatosensory system is that portion of the nervous system responsive to changes at the surface or inside the body, whether chemical, thermal, or mechanical.)

Conscious attention has a momentary pinpoint exclusivity between internal and external sensation that appears to have some crossover owing to short-term memory of a few seconds. Each mind collates and dispenses a flowing collage of information which is considered actuality, even as the conscious data is wholly a discretionary mental fabrication.

Physiology is an integral complex. The major physiological systems of which we can be directly aware – such as the respiratory, cardiovascular, cognitive, and digestive systems – may noticeably affect one another. “Patients after stroke often suffer from cardiac problems and patients with cardiac disease often have impaired cognitive function,” remarked German doctor Arno Villringer.

Inner noise defines quality of life. Those in ill health, whether mental or physical, are distracted by what ails them, and so less aware. Holistically, such people experience less in a meaningful sense.

What is commonly called ‘spirituality’ is biologically nothing more than level of awareness –  often referred to as “level of consciousness,” as consciousness is the facility for awareness. Mental quietude and higher awareness directly correlate.

In fact, quietude itself affords greater cognitive sensitivity. This is why regular practitioners of yoga and meditation report feeling more alive: their mind is more subdued, and hence their awareness heightened.


Esra Al et al, “Heart–brain interactions shape somatosensory perception and evoked potentials,” PNAS (27 April 2020).

How the heart affects our perception,” ScienceDaily (28 April 2020).

Ishi Nobu, “The mind-body,” (1 November 2019).