Embodied Sensemaking - A New Media Approach For Improved Sensemaking

blog essay

The simple exercise you were just introduced to is designed to help make you more present and embodied as you engage with online content. This helps you digest content better, notice how it makes you feel, make better sense of it, and increase discernment.

In this day and age, it reminds us of the radical practice of building the muscle of paying attention in an embodied way, something we might call a lost art.

By turning your attention inward, you break the habitual pattern of moving quickly through online content, and are invited to create a greater sense of physiological heart and brain connection by increasing your heart rate variability.

Part of our mission at Collective Evolution is to explore topics that can help transform our world and observe what is happening in our world from a more neutral point of view. We like to ask “what about us and our current human story creates our world, society, ideas, day-to-day choices, and policies to be the way they are?”

We are working to raise consciousness behind why humans do the things they do, and empathetically understand this at a deeper level.

To best explore these questions we want to encourage readers to be in a state of mind and being where they're more open to exploring new ideas while being more relaxed, attentive, and more free from cognitive, emotional, and trauma-based distortions.

This idea came from our founder Joe Martino, who calls it embodied sensemaking. He began experimenting with the idea in 2010 with Collective Evolution and formally incorporated it into the reading experience on CE in 2016 to invite a deeper understanding of what was being read or watched.

Sensemaking is the process of taking external cues in our environment, like information and facts, and making sense of them in a larger more complex picture. embodied sensemaking is bringing the sensing, relational and intuitive capacities of the body into the process.

Our society is complex and many of our behaviors, individually and collectively, are driven by our past, trauma, and conditioning. If we can sense where these pieces might be impacting the nature of our society and the stories that happen around us, we can get a better sense of how to solve the challenges we face.

When tuned and done correctly, embodied sensemaking allows us to tune into our own emotions, the emotions of others, and the collective unconscious as we make sense of society.

As the exercise invites, stopping for a moment to tune into your body, and bring a sense of coherence to your body, emotions, and mind, one opens up to deeper layers behind WHY things happen in our world, lives and society.

Since 2009, our team has been committed to forging a radically new approach to media and the discussion of current events. Over the years scientific research has come to support the approach we have been taking to help improve the way people consume, connect with, and synthesize information in order to make meaningful choices in their lives and move towards healing collective trauma.

This discussion is worthy of consideration as most platforms either focus on simple 'feel good' or 'well being' based content, or focus on news from a purely journalistic sense, often with a political bias.

Since our content focus is on both personal transformation and news/current events, we have chosen to actually measure whether or not people are having a more positive experience consuming current event information.

recent research survey that we publicized in March 2021 shows the positive results of our approach on audiences well being, emotional state, and development of critical thinking over the 15 years our brands have been doing this work.

Coherence & Optimal Function


Decades of research shows that our hearts send more information to our brains than our brains send to our hearts. When our body's heart is beating in what is called an 'incoherent rhythm', it sends a message to our brains and nervous system that produces a suboptimal function that leads to a reduction in our ability to learn, make effective decisions, problem-solve, critically think, and self regulate our emotions.

When our heart is beating in a coherent rhythm, it sends coherent signals to the brain and nervous system that then brings each of these systems into synchronization physiologically. The result is the opposite of that of incoherent signals. Research shows an improvement in our ability to think clearly, navigate information, make decisions, remember things, and communicate. All of this can come from as little as 60 - 90 seconds of practices like the one we place at the top of each of our articles. Over time, these practices also helps to build self-awareness which helps us see our own bias' more clearly.

Further research has shown that a connection between thoughtful breathing and the production of a compound in the cerebrum called noradrenaline. This compound goes about as a “mind compost” that is delivered when we are feeling tested, inquisitive, or centered.

Our Unique & Research Backed Style

At CE we have found that the pathway to meaningful and sustainable change in our lives and society comes from being able to self-regulate our emotions, understand and change our habits and patterns, and also from learning how to navigate information in our world in such a way that allows us to carry our personal transformation into the realm of societal change.

In other words, sometimes people can have a spiritual practice or work on personal transformation, but don’t often apply their transformation to questioning or re-imagining things like current events, society, or politics. We are at a critical time in humanity’s history where faith in existing institutions is deteriorating rapidly, typically based on a right intuition people have that these institutions don’t work in their favor. We must begin exploring why our world is in need of change, and at the same time be able to shift our consciousness and thinking enough that we can make societal changes from a new way of thinking and being.

In 2009, we chose to focus our journalistic, video and education content in alignment with these findings. Focusing on a sense of ease, curiosity, and playfulness in our style. We don’t intend on trying to convince people to believe what we are reporting on, instead we encourage them to openly explore and question. This has had a dramatic affect on how people feel when consuming our content, and how they understand what we’re producing.

Commonly reported feedback from our audience includes things like feeling more grounded, hopeful, inspired, clear, and empowered to take action in their personal lives and society. Our readers also report that they tend not to feel a notion of ‘us vs. them’ and division that often occurs when consuming media about current events. Interestingly, readers have also commonly reported that after repeated consumption of our articles, videos, podcasts or courses, they notice a stark difference in how they feel when they consume content from more traditional alternative or mainstream media. This was also a huge discovery for us as it suggests that people’s relationship with other forms of alternative media can bring them new information but does not necessarily help their well being and sense of inspiration to act.

To us, all these suggest that our style not only informs but helps to create a noticeable shift in our audiences state of being. We don’t feel that it is us doing this for our reader, we feel the style and platform invites the reader to, by nature, build their self-awareness, practice emotional regulation, and think more clearly. Imagine how this will ripple out into the world as a result. Imagine how different conversations would be about current events if more had access to this approach.

Controversial Topics & Meaningful Change

At CE, we sometimes cover ‘controversial’ topics that as a society we are often resistant to explore, whether we have a spiritual practice or not. Many of our colleagues and friends in the personal transformation space have chosen not to explore some of these subjects much as they don’t quite align with their brand messaging or line of work, we respect and agree with their choices. However, we saw this as an important challenge to take on in our work as these ‘tough’ conversations need to be had, and we believe they can be done in a way that inspires change and well being.

Culture today is often uncomfortable with uncertainty and thus open inquiry and examination of new evidence has shut off around certain subjects. In our minds, this is causing a very societally impactful sense-making crisis in which we have become divided, distressed, emotional, and unclear as to what is actually going on around us. With this, we are quick to react and are often living on edge. As research shows, when we make decisions within our lives and society based on this state of being, they are often ineffective, suboptimal, and create further disharmony.

Our research has shown that 63% of our audience feels that CE helps them explore tough or controversial subjects while feeling less emotionally charged when compared to when others report on it, whether it’s a mainstream or alternative media source. This was a very inspiring statistic for us as we feel this makes a meaningful contribution towards shifting the way media is told to bring about a better society, without being limited to only focusing on ‘good news’ which has many limitations and, we feel, does not lead to deep societal change.

In our work we have found that combining personal transformation and emotional regulation with the openness to re-imagine society and explore new ideas, even when they are controversial, has created the greater sense of empowerment, clarity and well-being amongst our readers.

In short, our work has helped to provide a path to self-awareness, practice, and the skills to tackle information openly and coherently, thus readers are not triggered by disagreements and different perspectives, and are able to synthesize information into meaningful practice, solutions, and actions steps.

We’re at a critical time for developing a greater sense of self awareness, openness, and increased critical thinking so that we can better explore information without our emotions, biases, and pre-conceived notions getting in the way and shutting down our inquiry.

At Collective Evolution we feel that the journey to creating collective change is one founded upon personal transformation, what might be called a shift in consciousness, which is to say: we must generate a greater conscious awareness of ourselves, how we function, how to regulate our emotions, and think more clearly about what is going on around us. When we make this shift, our perception about life, society and what is possible dramatically shifts, and we begin to tap into a new story about humanity and what we want to create.

With this new story, coherence, and connection to self, we have found that people are inspired to work towards creating a greater sense of harmony and coherence in their lives and society as well. Effectively being able to see how new and emerging ideas can build a new foundation for society, instead of making small adjustments to our current society that’s built on an old and outdated story.


Transform you, transform the world.

Join 120,000+ subscribers who get our weekly CE INSIGHT. A concise newsletter with actionable personal development tips and solutions for a new future.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.