Living Closer to the Bone (Part 7)

Sentient creatures share a profound connectedness, with one another and with nature. The concept of soul can be understood in context of this innately felt connection with creation.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 6)

Animals that express gratitude, that play, that contemplate nature, that mourn, or that save a fellow creature are all demonstrating aspects of connectedness. This connectedness – underpinned by the ability to feel and emote – is the core of spirituality. It really is a matter of “fellow feeling.”

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 5)

Strange but true occurrences suggest that what family members (including our pets) feel for one another bonds us in unusual ways. Such experiences could only be chalked up to sheer one-in-a-million chance were it not for their conjunction with deep emotion.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 4)

Some animals have truly distinctive personalities. The passing of one such pet created an enduring mystery while also hinting at the spiritual nature of emotion-laden family ties.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 3)

Examples abound of non-human animals (dogs, pigs, bears, seals, gorillas, dolphins, whales) showing not only empathy but sympathy. In other words, these creatures not only possess an awareness of what someone else is feeling but they seek to alleviate the other’s plight.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 2)

Evolutionary and behavioral science is giving credence to what Darwin observed and intuited 140 years ago. Studies indicate with a fair degree of certainty that animals have intense experiences comparable to human feelings of joy, anger, love, exuberance, delight, compassion, sorrow, and grief.

Living Closer to the Bone (Part 1)

If you’re a pet owner, then you know that these animals have feelings. Other mammals may even be more aware of feelings that human beings are, because they possess a ‘primary’ form of consciousness: they live closer to the bone, so to speak, than we do.

Sensitivities as Markers of an Infinitude

The people I've been considering in this series - synesthetes, savants, the autistic, the highly sensitive, the gifted, the prodigious, the psychic - quite possibly retain a degree of access to the universal 'foreground' of all life.

Children Who Seemingly Remember Past Lives

Young children around the world are known to spontaneously volunteer recollections that seem to be about someone else’s life. The degree to which these children show heightened emotion in recounting such apparent memories is a tip-off that something truly significant is going on.

The Sensory and the Psychical: A Link Worth Exploring

Genuine differences in sensory processing – and, consequently, a different sense of self – may relate to who reports anomalous perceptions and who generates psychical anomalies.

Children With "Out of the Blue" Knowledge

Young children sometimes blurt out statements about things that obviously move them but seem very much beyond the pale of what they’ve read or encountered. Is the capacity genetic – a sort of ancestral memory? Here, a closer look at a truly mystifying capacity.

The Emotional Intensity and Complexity of Child Prodigies

Penetrating intellect, reservoir of energy, passion and drive, empathetic embrace of others – these qualities distinguish prodigies and other highly gifted children. Most striking of all, though, is their intuitive understanding that all life is connected.

The Reverberations of Fear

Extreme fear registers not just in the individual but can actually make his or her children - and his or her children's children - more sensitive to the same fearful stimuli.

Knowing What You've Never Learned

What theory could possibly account for suddenly knowing something – intensively, thoroughly, and often obsessively – that you’ve never been taught? This is what happens with prodigies and savants.

Islands of Genius: How Savants Do What They Do

Every savant draws upon a prodigious, almost uncanny memory. But what happens in the brain to cause this? Why are almost all savants male? And how do ‘normal’ people sometimes become savants in a single stroke?

Daniel Tammet: An Autistic (and Synesthetic) Savant

The mind of Daniel Tammet, while exceptional in many ways, also reflects the experience of many types of highly sensitive people.

Sense of Self in Autism

The way we process environmental and emotional stimuli has a direct bearing on our sense of self.

Prenatal Influences in Autism

A maternal infection during pregnancy – or the occurrence of stress, trauma, injury, deprivation, or exposure to environmental toxins – could cause the fetal brain to be hyper-connected, setting the stage for conditions (including autism) where sensitivity is prominent.

Kids With Autism Live in an Intense World

People who seem to be "tuned out" of social interaction may, counter-intuitively, have become that way not because they have a deficit of empathy or mental/social apparatus, but because they have fled from too much sensory or emotional input.

Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder

Some children’s brains have difficulty interpreting a sensation, especially if it comes on the heels of another, different sensation.

Sensory Sensitivity and Synesthesia

Hypersensitivity is the first of many intriguing correspondences between synesthesia, autism, savantism, and prodigiousness.

Sensory Sensitivity: An Overlooked Thread

The more we look into environmental sensitivity, the more we can learn about synesthesia, autism, savantism, and prodigiousness - as well as the forces that sculpt us into unique human beings.

PTSD: A Window into the Bodymind (Part 5)

Science and medicine are evolving toward a major change in outlook, where patient health and well being are viewed along a spectrum and no condition can be dismissed as 'merely' psychosomatic.

PTSD: A Window into the Bodymind (Part 4)

There are two ways to get at the essence of how emotional experience differs from one person to another. The first is to look at feelings and the second is to look at people.

PTSD: A Window into the Bodymind (Part 3)

Beyond the dissociative form of PTSD is a strange condition known as alexithymia. This term describes people who seem not to understand that they even have feelings.

PTSD: A Window into the Bodymind (Part 2)

The different types of PTSD are conditioned by different dynamics in the brain and the body.

PTSD: A Window into the Bodymind (Part 1)

Hippocrates famously said, “It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.” This remains true today - where the latest discoveries about PTSD are shedding light on the intersection of mind, body, and emotion.

Sensitivity on a Spectrum - Part 5

Science is making huge strides in connecting nature and nurture, mind and body - and in illustrating how each of us is different.

Sensitivity on a Spectrum - Part 4

Knowing one's boundary type provides insight on chronic illnesses as well as the alternative therapies that are most likely to help.

Sensitivity on a Spectrum - Part 3

New ways of looking at personality differences - such as the concept of "orchids" and "dandelions" - have much in common with thin and thick boundaries.