The sensory development notes published on this website are prepared in collaboration with an on behalf of Developing the Self Developing the World and to accompany the book “Spirit-led Community – healing the impact of technology” by Lisa Romero. The complete document complementary to the book can be opened here.
The ‘I’ sense is the sense of perceiving the individuality of another; to truly sense there is another human being present rather than only relating to their persona and conditioning. Despite a person’s race, sex, gender, religion, social status and culture there is an ‘I’ being that is not those things. Sensing the ‘I’ of the other is important for healthy relationships; in fact, we start to develop a sense about a new human being while they are in utero.
We can usually see this sense developing when we start standing up for our individuality in the late teens, early twenties. Whether or not it matures fully, depends significantly on the maturity of all the other senses which together develop the capacity to be in a place within ourselves that does not judge or have a preference, but can truly meet the other. Without effort, it may come and go and be more like a gifted moment of perception.
Hyper sense of ‘I’
To have a hyper sense of ‘I’ is to experience the ‘I’ of another strongly. When alone, people with a hyper sense of ‘I’ can have a stronger connection to themselves, but when mingling with others, they may find it difficult to have or maintain their boundaries. When there is company in the home, they may find it difficult to focus on themselves even if they are in separate rooms to the other people.
Though they may have a point of view and recognise someone else’s point of view may be different, they can feel overpowered by colleagues or partners and give up their point of view. They may or may not realise they are doing this. They tend to fall in love easily as they may give themselves over to another. Sometimes there is an unconscious reward for the sacrifice such as in co-dependent relationships, or a conscious reward such as stature, wealth, comfort or pleasure that can be clothed in material or spiritual beliefs. It can be through a separation from the other and opportunities for more points of view that they can regain perspective of their own life.
Hypo sense of ‘I’
A person with a hypo sense of ‘I’ is less inclined to recognise the ‘I’ of another human being. They see their own point of view and may disregard that of another because they do not experience it. They can feel more connected to others within a collective group, than a person with a hyper sense of ‘I’, but are also more likely to treat people according to outer characteristics such as ‘male or female’, ‘young or old’ or the colour of their skin. They do not pay much heed to the person’s individual ideals because they cannot perceive them. They can work in a shared space, though they may not pay much attention to the needs of others sharing the space. They can have more of a tendency to cross the boundaries of others on a physical and emotional level, as they don’t experience the boundary of the other although their experience of themselves can be heightened. They can appear to have no empathy and complete disregard for how their actions may affect other people. They can have difficulty falling deeply in love, though they may have relationships and love others but protect their boundaries and separateness.
How to harmonise and support the development of the ‘I’ sense
When someone else acknowledges us for our true individual self we are more likely to do the same for them. It can be remarkably helpful to listen and observe the communications and actions of another person without placing our bias and judgment in the way. So that no matter how people express themselves we can seek and acknowledge the part of their expression that is unarguably true. We support one another when we can let in the other’s point of view without losing our own. We learn how to do this in the first seven years of life by the primary caregivers and community living this out. We then ‘play out’ what we have learnt when our ‘I’ sense matures. As adults, we are required to choose this development. The ‘I’ sense is supported to maturity by upholding household rules that help every household member to flourish, rather than rules based on making a particular person’s life easier.
Treatments and activities used to harmonise the touch sense also harmonise the ‘I’ sense. Eurythmy and rhythmical massage are especially helpful.