The Sense of Movement
Movement is the second sense among the twelve that Rudolf Steiner, founder of Waldorf Education, developed and introduced about 100 years ago.
The sense of movement is a lower sense, classified as physical, inner, or a sense of the will. These inward senses make the effects of the external world upon us evident and are helpful with perception of one’s own body. This is your proprioceptive system at work!
The sense of movement allows you to know where parts of your body are and what position they are in space. This may be extremely subtle and is a fine tuned, intuitive process. This information is especially important when you attempt to initiate a new movement, you must know where to begin. The life sense also gives you the feeling of inhabiting a physical mass with substance. If you only had the sense of touch, your body would feel as though it ended at your skin. Interestingly, this sense begins to develop in utero.
According to van Gelder, “Your sense of movement is primarily focused on perceiving your own body, but you often also use it to observe things around you. In observing moving objects, your sense of movement works together with your sense of sight, so that you can see the type of movement taking place and estimate the speed of the moving object. In order to determine the object’s shape, your eyes follow the outline of the object and shift to and from details that attract your attention. Painters use this roving habit of eyes to guide you through their painting along a chosen course. The movements and shapes are observed by the movement sense in the eye muscles, but the eye itself only observes the colors.
You can also perceive the movement of a branch in a tree with your muscle sense, by imitating the movement with your arms. You could also imagine the movement and imagine how your eyes or arms would likewise move. This is called sensorial fantasy or muscular imagery, and you can apply it whenever you want to observe and imitate shapes and movements. Think about: the gait of a horse, how a cow or a pig lies down, the motions of leaves, the arrangement of branches in different trees, and so on. Movement and feeling are connected. This is evident in our body language: the welcome indicated by open arms, the dismissal expressed by a throw-away wave of the hand, and so on”
How does this relate to Unitarian Universalism and Religious Exploration?
The Seven Principles of Unitarian Universalism are the ideas which we affirm to “hold as strong values and moral guides.”
I identified twelve key concepts that appear throughout them. These are: Dignity, Worth, Justice, Compassion, Acceptance, Encouragement, Freedom, Conscience, Democratic process, Peace, Respect, Connectedness
When we make a conscious effort to fortify the sense of movement, we will in turn be developing awareness of dignity, worth, compassion, acceptance, respect, and connectedness.
What can you do to fortify this sense?
Games in this category:
Tumbling Crawling games
Jump rope (all kinds)
String games (cats cradle)
Ball bouncing games Jacks
Perception of precise movements
Take a piece of paper and a pencil. Close your eyes or ask someone to blindfold you. Draw a house, or a three-master. The first time, draw it as you would normally draw, occasionally lifting your pencil off the paper. Then draw it again but keep the pencil on the paper all the time. You could also do this exercise on a blackboard, so that others can observe you as you draw.
Amy Huntereece, PhD candidate, M.Ed.
Steiner, R. (1986). In A. Howard (Ed.), Spiritual science as a foundation for social forms [Geisteswissenschaft als erkenntnis der grundimpulse sozialer gestaltung] (M. St. Goar, Trans.). Anthroposophic Press. (Original work published in 1920).
Tunkey, J. (2011). Working with the 12 senses: Touch, health, movement and balance as a foundation for academic progress. http://www.movementforchildhood.com/uploads/2/1/6/7/21671438/12sensesmfc.pdf
UUA. (2018). The seven principles. https://www.uua.org/beliefs/what-we-believe/principles
van Gelder, T. (2015). Sense of movement. http://tomvangelder.antrovista.com/sense-of-movement-or-muscle-sense-126m53.html