Posts tagged: tears

“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 3: TEARS OF WONDER/JOY DESCRIBED

By , February 26, 2009 3:36 pm

Tears often come at times of great joy, love of nature, music, spiritual experiences, weddings, births. A number of researchers have asked people to describe their positive experience of tears and crying. See “Why Cry?” Part One: Are Women Better At Crying Than Men?” and “Why Cry?” Part Two: Videos of Thinkers vs. Feelers on the MBTI
 
“Tears of Wonder/Joy” by William Braud 

In this wonderful qualitative research article,  William Braud  is doing a “phenomenological description” of the experience he calls “tears of wonder-joy,” with many concrete examples. He asked people to exactly describe this experience.

In a section called “Felt Experience,” (I wonder if the author is a Focuser!), Braud describes that participants reported positive affect and “feelings of joy, peace, awe, love, compassion, empathy and acceptance. There are feelings of unity, union, oneness, closeness, connection and immersion.” Read Braud’s article for a complete description of these powerful, positive experiences.
 
Braud goes on to define “wonder-tears” as an innate biological “empathy indicator,”  an indicator of entering the numinous (holy, sacred) and a  “signal” toward what is meaningful for each individual, a “sign post” on the path.
 
Now, imagine adding Intuitive Focusing to go deeper, to articulate these deeper meanings, as I teach in my article, “Finding The Meaning Of Tears.” The Focuser can articulate the landscape of their own soul, their “unique blueprint” in the Rogerian sense, using tears of being touched and moved as a kind of moral “compass,” keeping the keel of one’s soul-ship on one’s unique path, leading to action steps toward “carrying forward” on this path of meaning.
 
Here is the link to the entire article,
“Experiencing Tears of Wonder-Joy: Seeing With The Heart’s Eye” by William Braud . 

Tears ARE Transformation, Felt-Shifting Happening
 
I have found another wonderful phenomenological study of tears, this one, “Nine Psycho-Spiritual Characteristics of Spontaneous and Involuntary Weeping” by Rosemarie Anderson, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA. Anderson confirms my own experience that a certain kind of tears IS transformation happening, is our body’s sign that something is changing, shifting at the deepest level, an “integration,” not simply a by-product of the deepest felt-shifting but part and parcel of it. She states that tears may be the border between mind/body/spirit, an essential part, perhaps even a causative factor in transformation.
 
See my paper
“Affect in Focusing and Experiential Therapy” , which makes the same argument in terms of tears of “cathartic unfolding.” 
 
Anderson cites the dissertation of one of her students, Dufrechou, J. (2001). Coming home to nature through the body: An intuitive inquiry into experiences of grief, weeping, and other deep emotions in response to nature. Unpublished doctoral dissertation proposal,  Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, CA. I have not found a copy, but I would love to read it.
 
The Fountain and The Furnace: The Way of Tears and Fire by Maggie Ross
 
AND Rosemarie Anderson cites the book on The Way of Tears that I have been seeking since a friend loaned it to me over twenty years ago:

Ross, Maggie. (1987a) The Fountain and the Furnace: The Way of Tears and Fire. NY: Paulist Press.  And a related article: Ross, M. (1987b) Tears and fire: Recovering a neglected tradition. Sobornost, 9(1), 14-23
Now to find the book! You can get it used from $22 up through
Amazon.

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)

“WHY CRY?” PART TWO: VIDEOS OF MBTI “THINKER” VS. “FEELER”

By , February 23, 2009 4:11 pm

In “Why Cry?” Part One, “Are Women Better At Crying Than Men?”, I pointed to a gender difference, but I also found a better descriptor in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator distinction between Thinkers and Feelers, allowing for a goodly percentage of male Feelers and women Thinkers who do not fit the gender mold on this distinction.

Here, I will compare two videos, one of Eugene Gendlin describing Focusing as a Thinker on the MBTI, a second of Kelly Corrigan describing Women’s Strength and Connection as a Feeler on the MBTI, becoming “touched” and “moved” to tears during her presentation.

Gene Gendlin on YouTube
 
First, let’s take a look at Gene Gendlin, creator of Focusing,  in person on YouTube, through the wonderful efforts of Simon d’Ortega and Nada Lou. You will see Gendlin, now in his 80s, in his gentleness, his intelligence, his great wisdom, and his wonderful humor. However, you will not see him “being touched” or “being moved” to tears (I have, however, seen Gendlin with tears. So I include these videos just as a contrast in these moments)
 
Short but sweet, less than two minutes:
“That Place That Knows”
 
Longer: 
 
“Theory, TAE, and Democracy 

 
Thinking At The Edge Part One: Mary Hendricks-Gendlin Introduction
 
For more, go to
www.youtube.com and Search Eugene Gendlin.
 
Being Touched: Kelly Corrigan on Transcending: Words on Women and Strength
 
I got this message by email from my “Women Relatives” group:
 
“I wonder if you’ve seen this ~ it’s perfect and so are all of you ~
friends, sisters, moms.” And the following link:
 
 
Transcending: Words on Women and Strength 
 
If you can’t open this, go to www.youtube.com  and search for Kelly Corrigan and watch Transcending: Words on Women and Strength. You will see Corrigan “being touched” and “being moved” to tears as she speaks, and you may well find yourself having a corresponding emotional response. My women friends and relatives communicate between each other in this way as a matter of course, sending each other “touching” emails, as well as humorous ones. Corrigan and the women experiencing their tears with her are also being “bonded together” by their shared empathetic response. Feelings are inherently relational and draw people into contact.
 
Okay, in case you thing this topic of tears is “too heavy,” here are two more humorous YouTubes to check out, totally for fun and having nothing to do with Focusing:
 
“The Mom Song,” this is hysterical. Sung to William Tell Overture, about 3 minutes.   
 
“The Mean Kitty Song”
 
Tears As Harbingers Of Deep Meaning
 
I have collected countless paragraphs from works of fiction which mention the “coming of tears” as harbingers of deep meaning — profound love, relief, connection, millions of things. We all know that people cry at births and weddings, beautiful, moving music, sunsets, moments of compassion seen between people, etc. Even grieving, if looked at without prejudice, contains many warm, joyful memories and re-connections with the beloved. Etc., etc. 
 
What matters to me in terms of Focusing is that, noticing even the tiniest sheen of tears in the eyes, or sometimes just the softening of the skin around the eyes, or the quivering of a cheek muscle, or a slight wiping gesture toward the eyes — if the person or the Listener/therapist notices these “openings,” and suggests spending some Focusing time with “Whatever brings the tears,” huge wealth of personal, profound, meaning/carrying forward usually arises, as well as life-giving moments of I-Thou connection between the participants (even a whole group of “witnesses”) that is Sacred/soul-building.

In “Why Cry?” Part Three, I will explore phenomenological research on the kind of crying called “Tears of Wonder/Joy,” a positive experience of awe and transcendence.

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: BEING TOUCHED AND BEING MOVED — THE SPIRITUAL VALUE OF TEARS

By , January 6, 2009 12:09 am

Complete Focusing Instructions Manual (17 pages)

“Ajas” Instantaneos Mini-Manual

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

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.

 

 

BEING TOUCHED AND BEING MOVED: THE SPIRITUAL VALUE OF TEARS

In his book, Feelings:Our Vital Signs (Harper, Row Perennials, 1979), Willard Gaylin makes the following distinction:

“Touched is generally a light emotion, although we do experience feelings of being deeply touched. The fact that we speak of it so (and it is not considered redundant) merely affirms the sense of touch as being a gentle feeling. The caress is its symbol. It arises almost inevitably in terms of something that is done for us by someone. It is a person-to-person emotion.

Being moved, on the other hand, is a deep and intense emotion and it rarely relates to a transaction between people. More often than not, the feeling of being moved is in relationship to certain abstractions, events, concepts, and sensations—The most common experience of being moved is in relationship to some encounter with grandeur(p.196)—

There is a physical feeling implicit in the very name of the emotion “being moved.” We do tend to feel “transported” by this emotion—the feeling of our being lifted out of ourselves—establishes an identification of ourself as a part of something bigger.(p.197) It is the emotion of spiritual communion, and, as such, may be the essential feeling of the religious experience.”

It is so pleasing to me to hear someone make such fine distinctions between “feelings” as are more often made between “ideas.”

In my experience, “being touched” and “being moved” are very often signalled by a sheen of tears in the eyes, nature’s signal to us that “This here-and-now is important.” We think of tears as related to painful experiences and overlook how often they signify love, happiness, joy, awe, reverence.

If we pause and use Intuitive Focusing to “sense into” the meaning signalled by the tears, we find ourselves enriched by a “tap root to the core of your Being and to the Universe.” See this excerpt below on using Focusing to find the meaning in tears:

From Chapter Six, manuscript The Wisdom of Tears © Dr. Kathy McGuire
FINDING THE MEANING IN TEARS

By now you have experienced the sheen of tears. Perhaps you have come to treasure moments of being touched and moved. They are an instant channel to energy, a tap root to the core of your Being and to the Universe.

 

You may find yourself asking some questions:

— What does it mean to “be moved by” something?
Am I supposed to do something?

— Do my tears mean anything? Are they trying to
tell me something?

— Why do I always cry when I see a particular
thing?

— Are my tears related to something from my
childhood?

— Do the same things touch other people as touch
me?

What Is ‘Meaning’?

You experience the meaning of living by having feelings in your body, not from ideas in your head. “Meaning” lies in your unique feeling response to any situation, based on your own lifetime of experiences. One man might experience a terrible grief when his father is dying: “Oh, I can’t go on living. He means so much to me. Everything that is important to me is wrapped up in him.” Another man may have a different experience at his father’s death, a sadness tinged with joy: “I’ll miss him, but it means that he is free. His time has come.” By carefully making words for feelings, you can find your own unique meanings.

Being open to tears, anger, embarrassment, love, and other emotions allows you to discover, through the exploration of the “felt meaning,” the personal meanings which give value and direction to your life. It might help to think of feelings as “felt meaning”– your feeling of the meaning of the situation to you. They are your access to the network of thoughts and beliefs which gives a goal and a direction, a meaning or a purpose, to your life.

For instance, when I saw a slender, Asian woman stand up as the violin soloist at a concert and launch into sound, I welled up with tears. The tears indicated that the situation had meaning for me. I found the precise meaning as I made words for the texture of the feeling: “It’s not just that she is a woman, but that she is small and feminine. I can be feminine and be powerful. A small, feminine person can be the vehicle for excellence. I have never seen this before. Always before the vehicle has been a man. Women can do this. I can do this.”

If I had not allowed myself to experience the emotion, to taste the tears and look for words to describe them, I would have been cut off from the profound meanings in the situation, meanings that could affect the entire course of my life.

The capacity to feel the meaning in situations, to be moved to tears, is a skill and a gift overlooked in our society. Psychologists and philosophers note the feelings of isolation, alienation, and despair called the “existential neurosis:” “What’s the meaning of my life?” The loss of meaning can be traced to the downplaying of the ability to feel and thus to discover the personal values which can guide meaningful action.”

You can begin to notice the landscape of your tears as an Eskimo can decipher 100 different kinds of snow.

Download “Being Touched and Being Moved: The Spiritual Value of Tears for many examples of how tears and Focusing interrelate and “Finding The Meaning In Tears”  for exercises for using Focusing to find the meaning in your tears. Both articles are packed with real-life examples of how tears “touch us” and “move us” in positive ways.

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: GRIEVING AS GROWTH

By , December 19, 2008 7:07 pm

At Creative Edge Focusing(TM), we teach a wide variety of applications of two core self-help skills, Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening, for use at home and at work, for personal growth, creativity, spirituality, conflict resolution, and innovative problem solving.

A “Sheen of Tears” Signals An Opening

From Instant “Ahah!” #4, Mini-Manual p. 13:

Opening Up”, Not “Breaking Down”

Most of the time, we walk around “being” our symptoms instead of “relating” to them. The physician’s office is a place where accidental openings into the “felt senses” underlying symptoms have an increased likelihood of happening. It thus becomes important for physicians, and other health professionals, to capitalize on these moments where the defenses fall, and the preverbal felt experiencing underlying symptoms, becomes available for transformation.

Inter-office conflict or stress at home can also cause a co-worker or employee to “break down” and start crying. Or a friend may become teary while sharing. Instead of being afraid of a “break down,” see it as an “opening up,” an opportunity to unblock and build anew. See Creative Edge Focusing at www.cefocusing.com  to understand the Core Concepts underlying growth and creativity.

People Are Skilled At “Not Crying”

Five minute grieving is based upon the following premises, drawn from my 25-year experience as a psychotherapist and peer counseling teacher:

1. In general, people do not fall apart and cry and cry without stopping. In general, people do not cry for more than a few minutes at a time.

2. If tears are present, it is healthier for body and mind to allow their expression than to repress them. Tears also are the doorways into The Creative Edge, the possibility for change.

3. In general, people have a life-time of experience in being able to call up their defenses again, and go on as needed after a few moments of crying.

4. In the few cases where crying is uncontrollable, it is better to discover this vulnerability and get help, by referring to a counselor for psychotherapy and/or a psychiatrist for exploration of the appropriateness of anti-depressant medication.

5. In general, spending a few minutes making words for the “intuitive sense” underlying the tears will bring relief to the person, energy to the Listener, and a deep feeling of bonding and care between the two.

6. Allowing the tears also actually releases energy, letting the person go on to next steps of problem solving and action to be taken.”

Five-Minute Grieving Protocol

Here follows a first step into the Creative Edge Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening which I call “Five Minute Grieving,” especially for health professionals, but also for co-workers and friends in a pinch, if someone tears up or starts crying.

FIVE MINUTE GRIEVING

Example from a physician’s office:

You have just told a patient that tests have shown her to be infertile. Tears well up in her eyes.

l. Invite her to cry. Say something like the following:
· “In a minute we can discuss options, but let’s make room for your tears.”
· “It’s okay with me to let your tears come.”
· “It’s okay to cry.”
· “You don’t have to hold back your tears.”
· “It’s important to let yourself cry.”
· “Just be gentle with yourself. Put your arms around yourself.”

2. Empathize with the feeling without trying to “fix” it or take it away:
· “I know it seems bleak right now.”
· “I know it’s hard.”
· “I see your sadness.”
· “I’m sorry for your sadness.”

3. Help her to find words or images for the tears. After she has cried for a while or at a natural pause in her tears, say something like:
· “What are the words for your sadness?”
· “Are there any words or images with your tears? It helps to get a handle on the feeling.”
· “Can you say what’s the worst of it?”
· “Can you say what you’re thinking?”

Just be quiet and give the person some time to grope for words.

4. Empathize again, often by paraphrasing:
· “So it’s (her words: “the fear that you’ll never be a mother;” “feeling like a dried up stick,” etc.) that’s hard.”

5. Continue Steps 1-4 as long as makes sense.

6. Establish closure:
· “We have to stop now.”
· “We only have a minute before we have to stop.”
· “I have to go, but you’re welcome to sit here for a minute until you’re ready to go.”
· Or, if you are now going to continue with other aspects of the visit, “Let’s see if we can put aside the tears for now so that I can give you some more information and we can look for solutions to your situation.”

7. Orient the person, if necessary, by doing a “present time” exercise:
· “I want to make sure you’re back out in the world before I send you off to drive home (or before we continue talking) . How about if you name all the circular (or orange, or striped, etc.) things in the room?”

8. At the end of the appointment, make a referral to a counselor or support group as appropriate and/or make arrangements for the person to check back with you for a future appointment.

Of course, Five Minute Grieving is just a first step toward fully incorporating Core Skills of Intuitive Focusing and Focused Listening into your personal and professional life. I hope it will whet your appetite to pursue further training in PRISMS/S and the Creative Edge Pyramid for application ofListening and Focusing at all levels and at home as well as work .

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-
Subscribe To E-Course For Weekly Practice Exercises

Click here to subscribe to our Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

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.

Tell me what you think at [email protected] or comment on this blog below !

Click here to subscribe to our Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

Click here for a free Intuitive Focusing Mini-E-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

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

FOCUSING AND SPIRITUALITY 4: AGAPE —THE SPIRITUAL LOVE OF THE OTHER

By , June 2, 2008 10:30 pm

Experiencing God in The Other

For me, intense spiritual experiences of the love known as Agape happen regularly through the experience of exchanging Listening/Focusing turns in a Focusing Partnership or a Listening/Focusing Community. 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.

Here is how I recently described this experience of Agape during Listening/Focusing Partnership Exchange:

“I like Listening/Focusing better than Focusing Alone because, when people share Listening/Focusing turns, they actually build up Love between each other, the Love of “the unique otherness” of the other which is Agape, which is “seeing Christ in the other person,” which is Buber’s “I /Thou vs. I / It experience.” I am way more interested in promoting a method that creates Love in the world than I am in any individual’s personal growth.

And so I like to spread Listening/Focusing partnership, but even more important, Listening/Focusing groups, and, most importantly, Listening/Focusing Communities. In a Community, there is Listening/Focusing for conflict resolution and for Win/Win decision making, two more HUGE VAST ways to create love rather than conflict, prejudice,stereotyping.

The experience of Love being created? I am Listening to another. That person touches down, often, into a place of tears, a place of deepest, most profound meaning for them. I am also moved to tears of empathy. In that moment, it is “as if” the boundary between the other person and myself dissolves or broadens or merges — I am still there, and they, but there is also this Togetherness — and, in it this feeling of Love — my heart swelling, sometimes tears in my eyes, and a sense that Something Sacred has entered into the room. Something beyond the two of us, and something with qualities of Awe and Grace and the kind of Love that God or a Universal positive force — well, something like that!!!

And, this Love lasts. I am now bonded to this person. In a Focusing Community, out of this Love, people take each other to doctor’s appointment, sit with each other through chemo therapy, help each other move furniture, celebrate each other’s Birthdays, show up at a meeting just to hear each person Check In, each person say their News and Goods from the week. I do think that this mutual “touching into tears” may actually be a crucial, almost physiological/spiritual part of this “melting and merging.”

It is possible that the quality of sharing in my Focusing Communities is different or deeper than in other Focusing Groups because of the emphasis I place on teaching Focusers and Listeners alike to move toward, move into, welcome, the places that start with a shimmer of tears in the eyes, and, if the Focuser stops and “senses in” right there, at the “place of tears,” hugely deep meanings unfold.

It is that, building community (not just partnership) in a world of isolation and mistrust and hate, that I love above all else, and it is Listening, more than Focusing Alone, that allows this to happen, really, really predictably. Creating Love predictably! What could be better! You can take any group of people, no matter how polarized and hating, and, if they will do Listening/Focusing turns with each other, seeing each other’s mutual Uniqueness-yet-Commonality, they will find themselves loving each other, having deep compassion for each other, and being willing to take action steps to help each other (at least, this is my belief! Carl Rogers has done more of these actual world-peace making gatherings than I. Mine have been local Focusing Communities — but six of these over 30 years, all creating love and bonding, each lasting 5-10 years).”

See articles in PDF:

Focusing and Spirituality: The Still, Small Voice Within
Being Touched and Being Moved: The Spiritual Value Of Tears
Finding The Meaning Of Tears

Click here to see the whole Experiencing The Sacred Interest Area and scroll down to find Ten Ways to Bring Focusing into Spiritual Communities

EXERCISE: FOCUSING UPON A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE OF AGAPE
(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)

If you need a different kind of Focusing Exercise for where you are today, please click here to access the e-newsletter archives at Constant Contact and choose any Focusing Instruction that fits for you.

As last week, you will choose an experience to spend Intuitive Focusing time on 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.

Perhaps this week you could bring to mind an experience of Agape that you have had: A time when you felt a special closeness to another person which had a spiritual feel to it

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. If it fits for you, look for a time when you experienced the special closeness of Agape with another person (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. Go to Creative Edge Focusing TM at www.cefocusing.com  to find many resources, from self-help groups to Creative Edge Focusing Consultants for individual Coaching or Classes and Workshops.

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

Click here to subscribe to our Instant “Ahah!” e-newsletter and get the latest exercises first!!!

 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.

Download complete Instant “Ahah!” Mini-Manual, in English and Spanish, from CEF Website

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

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 

Panorama Theme by Themocracy