Focusing is the practice of inviting a bodily felt sense of a situation to form, describing it, and allowing 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.
What is the bodily felt sense?
This bodily felt sense is not just a “gut feeling” or an emotion or an intuition, although those might be part of it. The bodily felt sense of a situation encompasses everything about the situation.
How do I know what a felt sense feels like?
You can let a bodily felt sense form about any situation you are experiencing. Accessing the felt sense usually starts with noticing an unclear feeling inside. Because it is uncomfortable to feel confused and unclear, we often stop right there, and conclude that we can’t feel anything in our bodies.
Or our most obvious bodily sensation might be of 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, say hello to it, acknowledge it, so that more meaning can come.
The characteristic of the bodily felt sense is that it is hard to put it in words. It is pre-verbal. 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 conceptual framework or belief system. It taps into your body’s natural ability to grasp your 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. One way to get a feel for Focusing is to get together with a friend and try a Mindful Listening Partnership.
Is Focusing for you? See for yourself, with a free 30-minute Focusing session: