FOCUSING AND SPIRITUALITY 3: BIOSPIRITUALITY — THE BODY AS A DOORWAY TO SPIRIT

By , May 23, 2008 4:22 pm

Biospirituality

Jesuit Fathers Pete Campbell and Ed McMahon (Bio-Spirituality: Focusing As A Way To Grow, 1985) have made a life’s work out of looking at the specifically spiritual aspect which can be present in any use of Intuitive Focusing. They see entering the bodily “felt sense” through Focusing as a way of entering into The Body of Christ from the Christian perspective and also into the common ground of all spiritual experience. They call their approach Bio-spirituality (www.biospiritual.org  ).

In any Focusing process, the Focuser will often experience a Felt Shift or Paradigm Shift, an opening of tension release into forward movement and new energy. Fathers Pete and Ed tell us to pay more attention to the “bodily-feel” surrounding these felt shifts in experiencing. They show us that, if we attend fully to the feelings surrounding the felt shift, we will find experiences of gratitude, of awe, of being “graced” by the presence of the Almighty.

While they started with Christianity, the Fathers now see Focusing as an access path to the Experience of the Sacred which underlies all religions. They elaborate upon Gendlin’s sixth step of Focusing, called Receiving: thanking and acknowledging your Body’s Wisdom for the new steps of healing that have emerged through Focusing and taking the further step of noticing the presence of grace and awe and thanking the Greater Source from which felt shifts, and spiritual and emotional growth, emerge.

Exercise: Focusing on Spirituality: Experiencing The Sacred

(You can read these to yourself now, download them for repeated use, read them into a tape recorder for playback; leave at least one minute of silence between each instruction)

As last week, you will choose an experience to spend Intuitive Focusing time on something that had spiritual meaning for you, a moment when you might have said that you were experiencing God or The Sacred or Something Profound – often, this can be something that touched you or moved you, perhaps bringing a sheen of tears to your eyes. It might be a piece of music, a prayer or passage from the Bible, a poem, a sunset, the smile of a child, the touch of a friend.

According to the BioSpirituality work, you might pay special attention to any feelings or experiences that come “around” any experiences of Felt Shifting or Paradigm Shift. Do you notice any feelings of Awe or Gifting, the presence of Grace or Something More?

By spending time with “the intuitive feel of it all,” you are going to make more words and meanings for what is Sacred, to you. Please find a comfortable chair in a quiet place, and give yourself at least 30 minutes for Intuitive Focusing:

Okay — first, just get yourself comfortable — feel the weight of your body on the chair — loosen any clothing that is too tight —
(One minute)
Spend a moment just noticing your breathing — don’t try to change it — just notice the breath going in — and out —
(One minute — )
Now, notice where you have tension in your body (pause) —
(One minute — )
Now, imagine the tension as a stream of water, draining out of your body through your fingertips and feet (Pause) —
(One minute — )
Let yourself travel inside of your body to a place of peace —
(One minute — )
Now, bring to mind an event or piece of music or art or religious symbol that felt Sacred, or had a spiritual significance for you (pause) — Take your time to find a powerful, meaningful symbol or event —
(One minute or more — )
Think about it or get a mental image of it — take your time to choose something that matters to you —
(One minute — )
Now, try to set aside all of your thoughts about this experience, and, as you carry a mental image of the event or symbol in your mind, just wait and see what comes in the center of your body, around your heart/chest area, in response (pause) — not words, but the intuitive feel of that whole thing —
(One minute or more — )
Now, carefully try to find words or an image for that intuitive feel — Go carefully back and forth between any words and the intuitive feel of the whole thing until you find words or an image that are just right for it —
(One minute — )
Now, gently ask yourself, “What was so important for me about that?” or, “What about that touched me or filled me with awe?”, and wait, at least a minute, to see what comes in the center of your body, the place where you feel things —
(One minute or more — )
Again, carefully find words or an image that exactly fit that felt experiencing —
(One minute or more — )
Now, ask yourself, “And what was so Sacred to me about that, what do I mean by ‘Sacred’?” and, again, wait quietly, for at least a minute, to see what comes in the center of your body, without words, just the “feel” of “the whole thing” about “Sacred.”
(One minute or more — )
And find some words or an image to capture that “whole thing,” The Sacred —
(One minute or more — )
Now, ask yourself, “Does that capture what I mean by ‘spiritual’?”, and, again, don’t answer from your head, what you already know, but wait, as long as a minute, for an answer to come in the center of your body, your wordless intuition, The Creative Edge —
(One minute or more — )
Again, carefully find words or an image for that, and check, “Is that it?” —
(One minute — )
If the answer is “Yes,” a release of bodily tension, a sense of “rightness,” then turn your attention to noticing any “spiritual” experiences that are present around the edges of this experience, right now — feelings of Sacredness, of floating in Oneness, of Awe or Gratitude, of being moved or touched with tears — stay with these immediate spiritual feelings as long as you like —
(One minute or more — )
Try to find an image or other symbol or gesture that might serve as a “handle” for this particular spiritual feeling, something that would remind you of how to find your way to this place again, at any time during the day when you want to revisit the Experience of the Sacred —
(One minute or more)
And, when you are finished, come back into the room.
If the answer is “No,” your body remains tense, then, set aside everything you have already thought and tried and ask your body, The Creative Edge, again: “What is Spirituality for me, and where might I find it?”, and, again, wait, as long as a minute or more, to see what comes in the center of your chest, an intuitive “feel” for the whole thing —
(One minute or more — )
Take a moment, again, to carefully find words or an image for whatever has come —
(One minute or more — )
Keep at this as long as you are comfortable, asking an open-ended question, waiting for an intuitive sense of “the whole thing” to emerge, looking for words or an image or even a gesture or action step that fits the intuitive feel “exactly.”
(One minute or more — )
But, if no clear “felt” experiencing of Spirituality arises, just remind yourself that, by spending Focusing time sitting with The Creative Edge, you have added energy and started a new living-forward, and, especially if you continue to hold “the feel of it all” on the back-burner of your mind, later something new will likely pop up —
(One minute)
Appreciate yourself and your body for taking time with this, trusting that taking time is the important thing – new experiences can then arise later.
(One minute or more — )

Remember, Intuitive Focusing is often learned more easily in the company of a Focused Listener.  See links below for resources.

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog ! Or email your findings to The Creative Edge Collaborators’ Group. Join at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/creativeedgecollab 

 See blogs under Category: Conflict Resolution in the sidebar to find a complete mini-course on Interpersonal Focusing and Conflict Resolution, including Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication, Blanchard’s “One Minute Apology,” Patricia Evan’s books on Verbally Abuse and Controlling Relationships, McMahon’s Beyond The Myth Of Dominance, and much more.

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Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

The site of new insights and creative solutions is at the edge of what is already known. This edge, The Creative Edge, holds implicit within it all past and future knowing about the problem, more than could ever be put into words in a linear way 

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