What is Focusing?
Focusing accesses the wisdom of your body. You invite the bodily felt sense of a situation to form, describe it, and allow it to unfold. Because your body knows you, that unfolding carries meaning for your life. What was stuck or unclear comes into focus, and you find that the problem you were addressing has “carried forward”: the meaning you have grasped has changed you and the situation at the same time.
The felt sense leads to transformation
Philosopher/psychologist Eugene Gendlin, PhD, developed the practice of Focusing. He observed that fresh meaning comes from pausing and tuning in to the bodily felt sense of a situation. The fresh meaning is relevant to the issue being addressed. The felt sense automatically gives you feedback:
“Statements that speak from the felt sense can be recognized by the fact that they have an effect on the felt sense. It moves, opens, develops.” –Eugene Gendlin, PhD, Introduction to Thinking at the Edge
When you are Focusing, you actually feel that movement in your body. Where there was pressure and discomfort, there is now clarity and a feeling of fresh air. The meaning you have grasped opens the road before you. Further felt sensing will lead to more steps on the road to transformation.
Given today’s culture, it seems strange that something meaningful and valuable can be implicit in a bodily felt sense. This prompted Gendlin to develop the Philosophy of the Implicit, which shows how all living things are processes, rather than reducing living things to their component parts. Once you have experienced Focusing, you will see how this process works.
What is the bodily felt sense?
The bodily felt sense is not just a “gut feeling”, an emotion or an intuition, although those might be part of it. The bodily felt sense is the body’s “take” on a situation.
- You can let a bodily felt sense form about any issue that is relevant to you. Accessing the felt sense usually starts with noticing an unclear feeling inside. Because it is uncomfortable to feel unclear, people often stop right there, and conclude that they can’t feel anything in the body.
- When you put your attention on your body, the most obvious sensation might be a strong, easily identifiable emotion, like fear, anger or joy. In Focusing we learn to welcome, acknowledge and pay attention to our emotions. But we also know that the body’s intelligence goes far beyond emotions alone. If you first feel an emotion, make room for it and acknowledge it, so that more meaning can come.
- A characteristic of the bodily felt sense is that it is hard to put it in words. The sign that I look for is the feeling of a gap, a cottony feeling that there is something I don’t yet understand. I welcome this feeling. It tells me: “Here is something my body knows that I don’t know.”
Do I have to believe in Focusing in order for it to work?
Focusing is not just a technique or a belief system. On the contrary, Focusing is your body’s natural ability to grasp situations in a more complete, more intricate, and more spontaneous way than is possible through intellect alone. Once you learn how to listen to your bodily felt sense, you have a multi-purpose tool for thinking, creativity, healing and moving forward in life. So, no, you don’t have to believe in Focusing, you just have to experience it.
Focusing accesses the wisdom of the body. Is Focusing for you?
See for yourself, with a free Focusing session. Or find out more below: