By Kathy Keary
This is the second of three videos in this series. All videos are here.
Today we continue our series of videos that look at Focusing, a technique developed by University of Chicago psychologist Eugen Gendlin. Gendlin found that his clients were more likely to improve if they had a relationship with feelings connected to life events and the key to connecting to these feelings was by listening to your body.
Check this out: You many also find this companion article useful: Using Our Bodies in Prayer.
If you experience stresses in your life or are weighed down by emotional baggage, you may find this method of focusing to be freeing. I know I have.
Here is an outline of the steps in focusing, which are demonstrated in the video.
1. Prepare by sitting for a few minutes in silence to center yourself. Paying attention to your breath leads you to your center.
2. Identify what is taking up space in you. Take an inventory of all the issues that stand in the way of your feeling good, free or whole. As you identify an issue, set it down in front of you putting space between you and the issue. Then ask if there are any other issues taking up space in you. Continue in this manner until all that is taking up space in you is identified. Notice your interior spaciousness as you set down the issues.
3. Take a look at the issues you have identified. Which one seems to want the most attention from you? Which has the most energy?
4. Ask your body if it would be OK to be with the issue you identified. If the answer is yes, then go to step 5. If it is no, then have a caring presence for not wanting to be with it.
5. Identify where you feel the issue in your body. Care for that place. Perhaps place your hand there and feel the warmth, the light and the care. Or you may imagine healing rays being directed at this place. Reverently care for this place in your body in any way that is comfortable for you.
6. Continue to care for this place in your body where you feel the issue and notice if any change occurs in the way this place in your body feels. When the feeling in your body shifts or eases, rest in this place as long as you would like.
7. What word(s) would you use to describe how this place in your body currently feels after caring for it? Does an image come to mind that represents how you are feeling? Does how you are feeling evoke a memory? What feeling is sparked by the experience?
8. Savor the new feeling in your body. When you are ready, thank your body for what it has revealed and return to the room.
Here’s a link to a few resources you can use to learn more about focusing. If you leading yourself through a focusing exercise, you might also find useful my article on journaling: Writing from the Heart: The Contemplative Practice of Journaling.
[Kathy Keary, a Precious Blood Companion and spiritual director, holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is a graduate of the Atchison Benedictine’s Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the divine within. She enjoys accompanying others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]