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Cognitive Functions: Some Si in Practice

Thursday December 5, 2019

One of the cognitive function-perspectives that can be valuable to INTJs is “introverted sensing,” or Si. It’s dead last in the traditional model of functions to which INTJs give their attention. Which means we don’t usually give it that much attention at all. This can have some serious implications for our health.

What is Si?

Si has many facets and aspects. Some people say it’s 100% this facet and definitely not that other one. But I like a lot of the theories and possible facets of Si. And I think it’s a good idea to be inclusive where thought models are concerned. After all, we’re humans, and as humans one of our special gifts is entertaining all kinds of ideas, even conflicting ones.

A couple of facets of Si I’d like to highlight here are: 1) Si is about your internal feeling of health and comfort and 2) Si is about finding your “thing” or preferred sense of being and feeling, as an individual, sensory being.

(You might have also heard that Si is concerned with memory, tradition, history, duty, etc.—all of this still OK and valid I think, but for this discussion I like the health-perspective. I’d say ISFJs are one of the best personality types for demonstrating this type of Si work.)

Attacking a Problem by Attending to Si

Today, I needed to become comfortable in the physical, sensory sense, so I decided to attend to Si more than I might usually. I gave it some time and watched it develop.

It took me about 5 hours to finally figure out how I could get more comfortable, but it worked really well.

First: What was it? I just felt off. So I started thinking about what felt off. Or, “where” felt off.

  • First, my shoes. I was still wearing my hiking shoes from an earlier hike. So let’s change shoes. That felt much better.
  • Next, there was much to do. My mind felt full of information, just swimming! I laid down on my office couch, rested a bit, and got all of my information out. I info-dumped into Google Keep for a bit.
  • After that, I realized my eyes were feeling fatigued. Oh, maybe my computer monitor shouldn’t look like a lamp in terms of brightness. Confirmed after brief research, and added to my notes on eye health and ergonomics.
  • After this, I was still feeling stiff, worn out…sitting down felt annoying.
  • Back to the office couch. (If you have an office, do you have an office couch? I got one after a therapist friend bragged about the epic naps she took on her couch.) A 10 minute lay-down. Deep breaths. What a difference that made. Nice.
  • While laying down, I also picked up a portable radio that was nearby and found a nice station with some music I hadn’t heard in a while. I could tell it was really good for the emotions.
  • With the monitor brightness turned down, with my body relaxed, I felt great about getting up and continuing with my work. If you read my recent post about a new to-do list method, my afternoon work ended up with five circles filled in, five squares, and some progress on a couple of diamonds. A great result.

How my Si perspective differs from my usual thing

Previously I would have thought about my comfort or health in terms of sensory “ideas” which are not really interlinked. I should stretch, I should exercise, I should meditate. I should optimize my workspace. Don’t you know about that? All of us should know about that! (This is really an extraverted style, in that it starts with the outside idea, usually someone else’s concept, or a group’s shared and known concept, first.)

But introverted sensation is different in an important way. It says, “Forget all those other peoples’ ideas and methods. What thing or combination of things would be just right given your current condition? Which part of your body seems it needs attention right now? How can you take better care of your whole self right now?”

And maybe it’s one thing, or maybe it’s a chain of things. Maybe it’s your body, but maybe it’s just your wrist. And maybe it will change throughout the day, as a tight muscle here also affects muscles over there.

It takes time, too. I think “introversion equals depth” is a really good perspective with which to explore this set of introverted perceptions. Depth takes time. One can’t expect to be good at this right off the bat. And the journey is usually worth it.

So if you’ll be working for the duration, really diving into your career, or if you just want to extend your life as best you can, I really think it’s worth exploring Si and giving some serious attention to Si in practice.

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