Through inquiry, this can become quite clear:
Images and words give sensations meaning.
Sensations give images and words charge.
Images and words give sensations meaning
Sensations in themselves are simple sensations. They are bodily sensations without any inherent meaning.
When images and words become associated with them, these images and words gives the sensations meaning. They label the sensations and may also tell a more elaborate story about what the sensations mean.
The simple label may be pain, hurt, sadness, fear, anger, frustration, discomfort, joy, elation, threat, craving, or compulsion. The more elaborate story may be a story about me or the world, for instance that I am not good enough, unloved, or superior. Or that the word – or something in it – is dangerous, or welcoming, or anything at all.
The mind tells itself what the sensations mean with the use of images and words.
Sensations give images and words charge
When images and words become associated with certain sensations, these sensations lend a charge to the story told by the images and words. They lend the story a sense of substance, solidity, and reality, and gives it charge.
There is a story, and the sensations the mind associates with the story lends the story a sense of reality, substance, and solidity, and gives it a charge.
Temporary and chronic bodily contractions
In order for the mind to take it’s own stories as real (substantial, solid, with a charge), it needs to find sensations to associate them with.
And in order for the mind to reliably find sensations, it needs to contract muscles in certain areas of the body to create sensations that these stories can be associated with.
These contractions can be temporary and created “on command” as needed.
If the stories are more core and recurrent, the contractions can become chronic and very familiar to us.
Inquiry can help us recognize how stories and sensations come together. It can also help us separate out the stories and sensations, so they become “unglued” and the sense of solidity and charge of the stories soften or fall away. This can help with anxiety, depression, compulsion and just about any other stressful experience the mind creates for itself.