Posts tagged: being touched and being moved

“WHY CRY?” PART 5: BOOKS AND ARTICLES ON TEARS, CRYING, BEING TOUCHED AND BEING MOVED, INNER CHILD HEALING, ACTIVE GRIEVING, TRANSFORMATION

By , March 4, 2009 6:41 pm

Articles by Dr. Kathy McGuire: Being Touched and Being Moved, The Alchemy of Grieving, Focusing Inner Child Work, Finding The Meaning of Tears
 
Crying and vision, crying and opening the heart, crying and connecting (this is such a profound experience when it happens — as a Listener, I tear up in empathy with a Focuser, who may also be touching on tears, and, in my experience, the walls, the envelopes of flesh separating us simply melt away, and we meet in Buber’s I-Thou space — the two of us and The Something More, The Sacred entering in).
 
In my own journey to understand the place of crying, being touched and being moved, particularly, I have found
 
(a) an early book by William Frey called Crying, which, when first published, was a media event. He collected tears in test tubes from people watching a tear-jerker movie, and compared them, their chemical analysis, with “non-emotional” tears, collected questionnaire data on frequency of crying (women five times as often as men!), etc.
 
(b) The book by Anglican hermit Maggie Ross, The Fountain and The Furnace, cited above.
 
(c) Pema Chodrin’s (Buddhist nun) work on the “way of compassion” as a complement to, for instance, Tolle’s “way of enlightenment.” While much of Eastern philosophy seems to emphasize “detachment,” “objectivity,” Chodrin talks about going DOWN into the morass of human pain and living through it and into it, with other humans, with compassion.
 
(d) William Gaylin, Feelings: Our Vital Signs (Harper & Row Perennial, 1979), where he has chapters that are a phenomenology of many different feelings. He has a chapter on “being touched” as a human to human happening, and one on “being moved” as between a human and The Something Greater.
 
Here are links to some of my articles (all found on my website, www.cefocusing.com , Category Free Resources, then Articles):
 
“On Tears and Focusing,”  a mini-research where Focusers spoke about their experience with tears (I have tons of great quotes!). SHORT BUT SWEET
 
“Being Touched and Being Moved: The Spiritual Value of Tears”,   with lots of quotes about how Focuser value their tears. 
 
“Finding The Meaning of Tears,” a book chapter, with more great quotes about how Focusers use their tears and giving actual Focusing exercises for following the path of tears.
 
“Affect in Focusing and Experiential Therapy”, containing quotes from dialogue between Gene Gendlin and myself about the value and role of what I call “cathartic unfolding” vs. “sheer, repeating emotions.” THEORETICAL WITH EXAMPLES
 
“Medical Change Events Through Experiential Focusing,” including the complete transcript of the 12- minute session (also on my DVD Listening/Focusing Demonstrations) where a woman goes from depression/migraine to felt shift, including joyful releasing teariness, and also including my “Five-Minute Grieving” procedure for helping professionals, immediate application for all physicians and helping professionals.
 
“Active Grieving Part One,”  a perspective on grieving as an alchemical, tranformative process
 
“Active Grieving Part Two,”  an actual protocol for active grieving of a loss.
 
“Focusing Inner Child Work With Abused Clients”, which is not about tears directly but about the extreme attitude of awareness toward subtle nuances of word or body gesture which can indicate repressed memories of emotional/sexual/physical abuse in childhood and the extreme attitude of gentleness needed to allow clients to “be with” and work through, “carry forward,” these painful experiences.
 
It was enlightening to me to see how much of my work has this emphasis upon a kind of “going deeper” and “connection” that is associated with even a slight SHEEN OF TEARS in the eyes (sobbing not necessary but welcome!)
 
GREAT BOOK: WHY GOOD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE
 
By Stephen Post and Jill Neimark, Why Good Things Happen To Good People: The Exciting New Research That Proves The Link Between Doing Good And Living A Longer, Healthier, Happier Life, Broadway Books, 2007. Read about the Ways of Celebration, Generativity, Forgiveness, Courage, Humor, Respect, Compassion, Loyalty, Creativity , and
 
Chapter 11: The Way of Listening: Offer Deep Presence
 
See more at the author’s organization site,
Unlimited Love Institute. 

CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING(tm):  SELF-HELP SKILLS FOR HOME AND WORK

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

Creative Edge Focusing (www.cefocusing.com ) teaches two basic self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, which can be applied at home and at work through The Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid.

Based upon Gendlin’s Experiential Focusing (www.focusing.org ) and Rogers’ Empathic Listening, our website is packed with Free Resources and instructions in these basic self-help skills. Learn how to build Support Groups, Conscious Relationships, and Creative Edge Organizations based upon these basic skills of emotional intelligence.

You can try out    “Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You.”

Click here to subscribe to Creative Edge Focusing(TM)’s  Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!! 

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-Course

Click here for a free Focused Listening Mini-Course

 See  Core Concept: Conflict Resolution 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.

See  Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

“WHY CRY?” PART 4: CRYING FOR A VISION, OPENING OUR EYES TO TRUTH

By , February 28, 2009 7:59 pm

The Opening of Vision: “Crying For A Vision” by David Michael Levin
 
A key quote from Levin:
 
“Crying, of course, is involuntary.  But the experience of crying, with which we are all familiar, can be taken up by the self, taken to heart, and turned, through the gift of our thought, into a PRACTICE of the self.  The practice is concerned with the cultivation of our capacity for care —  Crying becomes a critical social practice of the self when the vision it brings forth makes a difference in the world, gathering other people into the wisdom of its attunement.”

Crying as a PRACTICE, a discipline like yoga or meditation or Focusing, a social practice for CULTIVATION OF OUR CAPACITY FOR CARE!!!

Dave Young, Focusing Teacher in Colorado,  brought attention to the work of David Michael Levin, a Focuser and philosopher-colleague of Eugene Gendlin, creator of Focusing, particularly Levin’s book, The Opening of Vision, Chapter 2, “Crying for a Vision.” Here are Dave’s comments interspersed with quotes from Levin. I include the entirety, since most will not have the Levin book at hand (original discussion happened on The Focusing Discussion e-list, joined at www.focusing.org , under Felt Community).

Dave says:
 
[Kathy]You challenge us brilliantly & beautifully, with your question:  “So, just wanting people to look and then ask themselves, “What is this about humans being ‘touched and moved’ to tears, and how does it relate to guiding oneself and others during Focusing?”
 
I’m presenting some quotes, with a bit of my own commentary, from the best philosophical writing on crying that I know, this from one of Gene’s closest philosophical colleagues, himself a Focuser, David Michael Levin.  It’s found in his marvelous book, The Opening of Vision, Chapter 2, “Crying for a Vision”.

  “This work on vision began, not with a vision, but with an experience of crying.  Crying for the earth, the earth itself, whose devastation I see all around me.  Crying over the plundering of the land.  Crying from the depths of my ancestral body for the victims of the Holocaust.  Crying for the Indians massacred in my country — “
 
Let me urge our discussion of crying, as Focusers, begin here:  with specific experiences of our crying, not merely of our sense of crying in general.  And let it include our own crying & our own struggles with crying.
 
Levin makes a startling claim, based on his Focusing-oriented experiences:
  “With crying, I begin to see, briefly, and with pain. Only with the crying, only then, does vision begin.” 
 
Perhaps carefully, caringly examining our own specific experiences of crying we can bring Levin’s claim within us.
 
Levin:
  “Our eyes are not only articulate organs of sight; they are also the emotionally expressive organs of crying.  The site where vision takes place is sometimes a site where a very different kind of process takes place.  We will now give some thought to the character of this process. What is crying?  Is it merely an accidental or contingent fact that the eyes are capable of crying as well as seeing?  Or is crying in the most intimate, most closely touching relationship to seeing?  Is crying essential for vision?”
 
Understand that Levin is a Focuser.  Therefore, as he will point out later, vision is never divorced from the body, and in particular, vision is never divorced from what he calls the body’s “moodedness” or as he says, “our capacity for care, ‘Sorge’, feeling:  our care-taking capacity, that is, as visionary beings.”  More strongly, he says, “Crying is visionary feeling, and feeling is inherently closer to a sense of wholeness than the disembodied intellect.”
 
This, then, is what Levin means when he says that crying & “vision” are linked, when through his question he implies that crying is “essential for vision”.
 
Levin:
 
“Only human beings cry.  Animals are beings endowed with sight; but only we are capable of crying.  What does this show about us?  What does this show TO us?  Is it this capacity for crying, then, which ennobles our vision, makes it human?  And is it not the ABSENCE of this capacity which marks off the inhuman?  By the ‘inhuman’ I mean the monstrous and the inwardly dead:  the Nazi commandant, for example, and his victim, the Jew, locked into a dance of death, neither one, curiously, able to shed a tear:  for different reasons, their eyes are dry, empty, hollow.”
 
Very strong, what Levin is challenging us to examine.  And yet, on a deeply felt-sensed level, we know this.  I would hold that, in any discussion of crying, the state or rather the stopped-processing of not-crying must also be closely examined, experientially, in ourselves and in others.  What, societally, that stops us from crying is, of course, what we most need to cry about.  And as this need is a stopped-processing, that means the need always remains within us, waiting, crying to come forth.
 
Levin:
 
“What does this capacity [for crying] make visible?  What is its truth?  What is the truth it sees?  What does it know as a ‘speech’ of our nature?  How does it guide our vision?”
 
Certainly, these are questions which we, as Focusing/Listening guides need to address.
 
Levin:
  “Crying is not something we ‘do’.  Crying is the speech of powerlessness, helplessness —  As a response to what history has made visible, crying calls for vision, for thought, for understanding; we need to SEE what IT make VISIBLE.”
 
Levin points what, to me, is a key in crying:  that crying isn’t a self-chosen act.  Though we do, of course, choose to embody-open ourselves up to seeing what calls for crying.  Yet crying, genuine crying always comes as a kind of cleansing & joining gift.  But more on this later, when I have time to better think it through, based on my own personal experiences.
 
Continuing & developing this thought, Levin states,

“Crying, of course, is involuntary.  But the experience of crying, with which we are all familiar, can be taken up by the self, taken to heart, and turned, through the gift of our thought, into a PRACTICE of the self.  The practice is concerned with the cultivation of our capacity for care —  Crying becomes a critical social practice of the self when the vision it brings forth makes a difference in the world, gathering other people into the wisdom of its attunement.”
 
This will take an unbundling I cannot do now.  But know:  crying does make a difference.  Kathy, it’s not only pointing to meaning, but to a special type of meaning.  And this meaning is a connecting, an act that reaches out and makes a difference in the world.  This I know from my own crying for abused & neglected clients who have been alienated from their capacity to cry for themselves and, worse, have become alienated from the truth that they are worth crying over.  And that is only one example.  But this points to a powerful truth which, when we guide those who have greatly suffered, we should not shirk from.  Always, of course, we see how our crying affects, not only is affected by, in our intense “interacting first”.  But we must never rule away our crying out-of-hand.
 
Additionally, when I allow myself to cry for my clients, not only does this crying — not all crying, not the crying of pre-empting or communicating this is too much, but the crying of being deeply touched which can be held  & presented  — not only does this crying usually bring for depths & healing from within my clients or rather from within our interacting.  I myself, by our genuineness, by my congruence, am far less likely to be drained & burned out.  This healing capacity of crying should also be noted in our discussion.
 
Levin gives us a starting point to understand the types of “moods” in crying, paralleling yours, Kathy:
 
“We could think of our eyes as capable of three kinds of mood:  (i) the ontical moodedness of everyday seeing, which can differentiate and articulate what it beholds only in a more or less dualistic, objectifying, re-presentational manner; (ii) the transitional moodedness of a seeing which cries for vision, immersed in painful seeing, immersed in the processes of its subjectivity; and (iii) the moodedness of a more joyful, more fulfilled seeing, clear and bright and articulate, and capable of being deeply touched and moved, even at a distance, by what it is given to see.”
 
As a taste of where this leads, permit me one more Levin quote: 
 
“Crying is the rooting of vision in the ground of our [universal, shared & interacting] needs:  [our] need for openness, [our] need for contact, [our] need for wholeness.” Dave

And Franc Chamberlain, Certified Focusing Professional in Ireland,  also dives into Levin’s work, with more on Vision and Crying:
 
“Hello, I haven’t been following closely, so apologies if I’m repeating — I’ve recently been dipping back into some of the Levin books, such as The Opening of Vision — and there’s also a questioning about tears in the early part of The Philosopher’s Gaze, in the section entitled ‘Blindness, Violence, Compassion’ (which seems to link the two threads of tears and (non) violence).
 
After discussing briefly T.S. Eliot’s ‘I see the eyes but not the tears/this is my affliction’ he goes on to say:
 
“What must we say about philosophers? When have philosophers seen the tears? When have they given thought to what, without words, tears are saying? Is the history of philosophy a history of blindness, a discourse disfigured by traces of this terrible, unavowable affliction? Is there something inherent in the philosophical gaze that compels this affliction to remain unavowable? (The Philosopher’s Gaze, 1999 p.4)
 
So, is there something in the philosophical gaze that both arrests crying whilst at the same time prevents us from knowing that crying is arrested? So, could we discuss ‘crying’ in a philosophical sense, and even discuss the arrest of crying, without even knowing that our own crying is a stopped process? Because western philosophy often splits itself off from ‘experiencing’ even when speaking about ‘experience’
 
Franc

Dave and Franc and Levin all pointing to the experience that crying is essential to our caring, having compassion, “seeing” the truth of this world, and acting on its behalf. “Being touched and being moved” as essentially human, and essential-to-humanness.

CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING(tm):  SELF-HELP SKILLS FOR HOME AND WORK

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

Creative Edge Focusing (www.cefocusing.com ) teaches two basic self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, which can be applied at home and at work through The Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid.

Based upon Gendlin’s Experiential Focusing (www.focusing.org ) and Rogers’ Empathic Listening, our website is packed with Free Resources and instructions in these basic self-help skills. Learn how to build Support Groups, Conscious Relationships, and Creative Edge Organizations based upon these basic skills of emotional intelligence.

You can try out    “Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You.”

Click here to subscribe to Creative Edge Focusing(TM)’s  Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!! 

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-Course

Click here for a free Focused Listening Mini-Course

 See  Core Concept: Conflict Resolution 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.

See  Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

“WHY CRY?” PART ONE: ARE WOMEN BETTER AT CRYING THAN MEN?

By , February 22, 2009 6:06 pm
TAKING TEARS SERIOUSLY: WOMEN CRY FIVE TIMES AS OFTEN AS MEN!
 
William Frey, in his book Crying,  states research which found that women cry five times as often as men. Certainly, there is a difference, and perhaps a skill, worth exploring here, if we take the value of tears and crying in a positive way.
 
TEARS OF WONDER/JOY, BEING TOUCHED AND BEING MOVED, AS POSITIVE, TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCES
 
In a recent discussion about the many photos of “tears of joy” throughout the world which appeared in conjunction with Obama’s inauguration, I started a discussion about such “tears of joy,” “tears of ‘being touched’ and ‘being moved’ on The Focusing Discussion e-list (join at www.focusing.org under Felt Communities and read the archives for November/December, 2008 —). Fellow list members came back with some wonderful articles and multi-media on the positive place of tears.
 
I have had an ongoing debate with Eugene Gendlin, creator of Focusing, and others about the place and value of tears in change processes using Focusing and Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy.
 
Gendlin’s position is that some tears are simply repetitive, “sheer” emotion, and change will not happen unless the Focuser pays attention to the wider, deeper, “felt sensing” under the tears: “What are these tears about for me?” and pausing for a “felt sense” of “the whole thing” to form.
 
I agree with Gendlin about this, tears and crying that seem repetitive, stuck, often cried from a helpless, “victim” stance.
 
But there is another kind of tears and crying which I experience as deeply transformative, as part of Gendlin’s “felt shift,” the crux of change within the Focusing model. I call these tears “cathartic unfolding”: tears and crying accompanying a deep shifting and opening and “carrying forward” at the bodily level. I experience these kind of “tearful felt shifts” as among the deepest in terms of true, lasting transformation of the psyche.
 
Gendlin tends to say, “Yes, receive these tears, value them, but they are a ‘side product,’ not an essential aspect of the ‘felt shift’ through Focusing.” I agree that ALL “felt shifts” do not have to include tears, in fact, most do not. But I think I disagree with Gendlin and others on what I see as the ADDITIONAL significance of felt-shifts accompanied by “cathartic unfolding.”
 
I also see more subtle “tearing up,” the slight sheen of tears in the eye, as an indication of places of deep meaning. So, when being a Listener for a Focuser, or a Focusing-Oriented Therapist, I am likely to ask the Focuser if it would make sense to stop and “sense into” the place of tears, as a pathway to profound personal meanings.
 
I have approached this difference with Gendlin as a difference between “masculine” and “feminine” in the Jungian sense, as a difference between being a strong Thinker (T) and a strong Feeler (F) on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). On the MBTI, 60-70% of men score as Thinkers, leaving 30-40% male Feelers, and vice versa for women, 60-70% Feelers but also 30-40% Thinkers. So, there are many men for whom tears come easily, and many women who are not so close to their tears. See my articles, “Jung, MBTI, and Experiential Theory,” “The Body As A Source Of Knowledge,”  and “Existential Phenomenology: A Philosophy Articulating Feminine Experience,” .

CREATIVE EDGE FOCUSING(tm):  SELF-HELP SKILLS FOR HOME AND WORK

Free Downloads:

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

Creative Edge Focusing (www.cefocusing.com ) teaches two basic self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, which can be applied at home and at work through The Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid.

Based upon Gendlin’s Experiential Focusing (www.focusing.org ) and Rogers’ Empathic Listening, our website is packed with Free Resources and instructions in these basic self-help skills. Learn how to build Support Groups, Conscious Relationships, and Creative Edge Organizations based upon these basic skills of emotional intelligence.

You can try out    “Focusing: Find Out What Is Bothering You.”

Click here to subscribe to Creative Edge Focusing(TM)’s  Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!! 

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-Course

Click here for a free Focused Listening Mini-Course

 See  Core Concept: Conflict Resolution 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.

See  Core Concept: Intimate Relationship to find a complete mini-course on increasing intimacy and sexuality, including the “Sharing Your Day” exercise, Listening/Focusing Partnerships for The Way of Relationship, untangling and equalizing desire, tantric sexuality, and much more.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website, or download from links at top of this blog.

Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops

Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

Creative Edge Focusing (TM)

www.cefocusing.com

 

INTUITIVE FOCUSING SKILL: PRACTICE EXAMPLE

By , September 15, 2008 1:38 pm
EXAMPLE OF A COMPLETE FOCUSING TURN 
In the First Week of this four weeks practice of Instant "Ahah!" #1: FOCUSING --- Find Out What Is Bothering You, I introduced Gendlin's Six Step Focusing Process and gave the Complete Focusing Exercise. If you are just joining us, go to blog Intuitive Focusing to read this e-newsletter before proceeding to read the example of a Focusing Turn below: 
I did a Focusing Turn in The Creative Edge Practice E-Group (join here)  on a felt experience which I call "Experiencing The Sacred":   
// Note: Listening/Focusing does not have to be used in relation to spiritual experience -- this is just a special interest of mine, and not central to Gendlin's Focusing process and the use of The Creative Edge Pyramid of skills and applications at home and at work---//  
Step One: Clearing A Space 
(closing my eyes, turning inward---slowing down, paying attention to my breathing) --- Breathing in --- and out---- in---and out--- Massaging my face, neck shoulders. Taking a minute or two to come in touch with my body. 
Step Two: Getting A Felt Sense   
Now I start looking for the "intuitive feel" to form for the Focusing question: "What is this 'whole thing' about Experiencing The Sacred)------  
------(Focusing inward at least a minute, waiting for the "felt sense," the "intuitive feel" of "this whole thing" to form, as a vague, preverbal sensing inside my chest area---) 
Step Three: Finding A Handle  
Initial words come: "Someone asked me why I have used religious or spiritual  terms, like Agape, the Christ-within-the-Other, the Universal Oneness, in pointing to the Sacred experience that I often have during Listening/Focusing turns, especially when the Focuser touches upon a "sheen of tears," a place of profound meaning (see my article "Being Touched and Being Moved"), and I am the Listener, and, suddenly, the boundary between us dissolves and I feel that"our souls are touching" or some such thing---hard to find words to describe it---I am pointing 
Step Four: Checking and Resonating 
(quiet to check with the "felt sense," the "intuitive feel" of this "whole thing"--- "Do those words fit? 'Our souls are touching, boundary dissolves'?" (sitting quietly with "the feel of it all," going back-and-forth between words and images or gestures which arise, checking and resonating, trying to find the symbolizations that are "just right" in capturing "the feel of it all")---   
---The person and I spoke of Martin Buber's "I -Thou" vs. "I-It" distinction as another way of pointing to this experience---(pause to look for words--- new words) this experience of merging-without-joining, union-with-separation, and, not just the two people, but the sense of "something more" in that moment of "soul-touching (soul is not the right word, just a pointing word)"---the sense that The Sacred (again, pointing words---) enters in---the two people hanging together in this larger
---(I'm getting a thrill here, a little teary---almost goose bumps)------(big breath---ahhhhhh!) 
(new steps forward, "felt shifts" coming as I find words that are closer in grasping and articulating the "felt meaning" -- the Ahhh!, sighs, deep breaths that indicate the tension release and "Ahah!" experience of the "felt shift," the Paradigm Shift) 
Step Five: Asking An Open-Ended Question
(and I ask myself, "What is so important about this 'two people hanging together in this larger Something'?" and wait quietly for the "feel of it all" to emerge, preverbally in my body, Getting The Felt Sense, before I again begin looking for Handle Words and Resonating and Checking---pause for "felt sensing", as much as a minute, followed by more symbolizations, more resonating and checking between the symbols and the "feel of it all")    
--- and the words "Well, that is the point---it is that experience that I call Experiencing The Sacred---that sense that something else enters into the "energy" (just a pointing word) space between us------(breath---sigh---a little teary as in "touched and moved"------(big sigh---) 
Step Six: Receiving  
(and I sit with and savor this new insight, that it is exactly the two people and Something More in the space between that feels Sacred, touches me so deeply, and some Global Application comes after the Felt Shift --- seeing new connections)
--- And it can happen in nature, with a sunset, with music, in churches or other sacred spaces, many different roads, not just between people--- (and I spend some time just letting the richness of the felt shift, the new information, register throughout my body/mind, and thanking my body-sense for this new information). End of Focusing Turn
FELT SHIFTING, GIVING BIRTH TO THE NEW 
You can see how, instead of answering immediately from my head, what I already know about "experiencing the Sacred" ("Well, of course, it's related to Martin Buber and it's about Something Greater Than Yourself," etc.), Focusing allows me to stop and "sit with" my larger "whole-body-wisdom" that includes everything I have read and everything I have experienced and am experiencing. 
From this "felt sense" I can articulate new facets of the experience. And I also experience the sense of "sureness," of experiential rather than merely intellectual insight, that lets me know I am on the right track.  Of course, Focusing can be used for all kinds of problem solving without entry into the spiritual realm, without touching on tears and feeling connection with the Other---this Experiencing the Sacred is just a special Interest Area of mine-
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Find links to free articles, personality tests, multi-media Self-Help training, Classes and workshops Dr. Kathy McGuire, DirectorCreative Edge Focusing (TM)www.cefocusing.com 


FOCUSING AND SPIRITUALITY: EXPERIENCING THE SACRED

By , July 2, 2008 3:53 pm

INTEREST AREA: Experiencing the Sacred

Immanent Spirituality: The Experience of God in The World

Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening can be used purposefully to “attend to,” “sit with,” “articulate” the “intuitive feel” of spiritual experiences. But more importantly, the practice of Listening/Focusing opens our eyes to seeing the Sacred around us by encouraging attention to those moments when the Sacred enters our lives.

It’s called Immanent Spirituality, God as experienced in the world, moments when the Sacred underpinning of the world “breaks through” and becomes visible, palpable, feel-able. Experiential spirituality is separate from any particular sect or creed. You can incorporate it into any religion and into every day living without organized religion.

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat call it Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life (Scribner, 1996), and their book jacket reads:

“These remarkable readings tutor us in the art of lingering with our experiences and seeing the world with fresh eyes — Life’s meaning and the presence of Spirit are found in the shape of a child’s foot, in an encounter with a wild animal, in the memories evoked by a rocking chair, in the process of doing a hobby, or in the messages on a computer screen.”

Spirituality Is More than Religion

Elfie Hinterkopf, in her book Integrating Spirituality into Counseling: Using the Experiential Focusing Method (available in The Store at www.focusing.org ), makes the following distinction:

“It is important to distinguish spirituality from religiousness — in this book religiousness will be used to mean adherence to the beliefs and practices of an organized church or religious institution (Shafranske and Malony, 1990). Spirituality will be used to refer to a unique, personally meaningful experience (Shafranske and Gorsuch, 1984). Although spirituality may be positively related to specific forms of religiousness, spirituality is not necessarily reliant upon any given form or appearance of religion.”

And:

“The spiritual experience is one of bodily felt release, more life energy, feeling more fully present, a sense of feeling larger and being able to reach out to more parts of oneself, to more people, and to more of life (Campbell and McMahon, 1985).”

Bio-Spirituality

Jesuit Fathers Pete Campbell and Ed McMahon have made a life’s work out of looking at the specifically spiritual aspect which can be present in any use of Focusing. They call their approach Biospirituality (Bio-Spirituality: Focusing As A Way To Grow ,Loyola Press,1985, 1997, www.biospiritual.org  )

In any Focusing process, the Focuser will often experience a Felt Shift, an opening of tension release into forward movement and new energy. 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 feelings of gratitude, of awe, of being “graced” by the presence of the Almighty.

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. They have taken the further step of noticing the presence of grace and awe and thanking the Greater Source from which felt shifts, spiritual and emotional growth, emerge.

Being Touched and Being Moved

Using Gendlin’s Focusing process, we will refer to “bodily-felt experiencing,” “bodily-felt spirituality.” Whether experienced through nature or inspiring music or religious rituals in church or through watching the kindness of one person toward another, these spiritual experiences will be “felt.” The existence of Something Greater or Something More will be fully and unquestionably known, experientially, rather than being only an intellectual theory.

I call it “being touched and being moved” (PDF article) and find it often marked by at least a sheen of tears in the eyes, along with an expansive feeling of one’s own boundaries and limits dissolving for at least a moment of merging into a feeling of Oneness – with nature, with another person or other people, with music, or with the religious ritual in church.

As with personal growth and creativity, spiritual experiences can also be reached more predictably through the conscious use of the Intuitive Focusing process. If you “accidently” find yourself in the midst of a transformative, spiritual moment, you can enrich and enlarge that opening by consciously turning attention toward the “feel of it all” and making words and images for the power and meaning of it.

These words and images can stay with you after that magical moment ends and can be a road back to that spiritual experience, again by consciously turning one’s attention to them in a Focusing way.

See Focusing and Spirituality: The Still, Small Voice for several ways to use Focusing to invite and to explore spiritual experiences.

Agape: Experiencing God in The Other

For me, intense spiritual experiences of the love known as Agape also happen regularly through the experience of exchanging Listening/Focusing turns in a Focusing Partnership or a Listening/Focusing Community (see Creative Edge Pyramid for explanations of these and other applications).

Through the use of Focused Listening, I am able to set aside my own stereotypes and prejudices and really enter into the world of the other person. In these moments of empathy, when the Focuser touches upon her deepest values and most profound truths, as the Listener, I am often moved and touched by the absolute uniqueness, yet universal humanness, of the Other.

In these moments, often with a sheen of tears in our eyes, it seems that the boundaries separating one person from the other drop, and we stand together in a shared, sacred space. I believe this is what is meant by experiencing The Christ Within The Other or Universal Oneness or Martin Buber’s “I-Thou” vs. “I-It” experience. For me, there is no more sacred experience.

Click here to go to Interest Area: Experiencing The Sacred and scroll down to find The Ten First Steps You Can Take To Bring Listening/Focusing into your spiritual experience and community.

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Dr. Kathy McGuire, Director

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