What’s Up Next? Sunday, September 29, 2013 ~ NVC & IRF:
Witnessing Consciousness & the Felt Sense (of Focusing)
Holding Needs as a Story
(a static awareness)
What is a felt sense?
Eugene Gendlin from Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy, p. 58:
“A felt sense is the holistic, implicit body sense of a complex situation… A felt sense contains a maze of meanings, a whole textile of facets, a Persian rug of patterning – more than could be said or thought. Despite its intricacy, the whole felt sense also has a focus, a single specific demand, direction or point… One single thing, one statement, or one next step can arise from the whole of it all…”
Excerpt (http://www.focusing.org) :
In Cologne my father took me with him to “the address.” It was in the Jewish quarter—poor, grey streets. It gave us an uncanny feeling that Jewish people simply continued to live here, as if nothing had happened. The Germans were not as wild as the Austrians. Already since 1933 the Jewish people had been staying voluntarily. In Vienna, on the other hand, there was danger for life immediately, and all Jewish people wanted to leave Vienna on the spot. We found the right house and an apartment on the upper floor. There, my father went into a room with a man, and I waited maybe for a quarter of an hour. When my father came out, he was pale and said: “Let’s go.” Outside he explained that he could not trust this man. My father said that his feeling had said “no” to him. My father had already said this many times: “I follow my feeling.” But this time I did not understand that he trusted his feelings. We were in a strange city and without any way out. We had put all our hopes on “the address,” and now this hope was destroyed, only because of what he had “felt.”
I was surprised then and also asked often myself later what kind of feeling it is which tells you something. Sometimes I tried to find such a feeling within myself, but I could not. But that I started to look for it had its effect in the end. Forty years later when I was asked how I could discover focusing, I remembered these circumstances.
Continues here: http://www.focusing.org/gendlin/docs/gol_2181.html
- Biographic Note: Eugene T. Gendlin, Ph.D. & Click here for a complete bibliography of Gendlin’s philosophical and psychological publications.
Why Focusing? How does the technique of Focusing complement the practice of communicating, nonviolently? As can be seen about seven minutes into this video clip, Marshall Rosenberg often recommended the technique of Focusing to enhance one’s capacity for self-connection.
We’ll begin to discern what a ‘felt sense’ may be and how it might amplify our own self-empathy (prior to either expression/empathizing with another)….
A fellow Focusing & NVC practitioner, Luccia writes, “On the Global Empathy call I thought that Bob Wentworth used a combination of Nonviolent Communication and Inner Relationship Focusing when he said things like: “So, you are aware that something in you is feeling scared.” Then, when the caller identified needs for strength he asked her: where do you feel strength in your body? When she started to go into story about circumstances, he invited her to be with the sensation. Then he had her hold other parts with the part that felt strong. I found this to be an interesting combination of NVC & IRF.”
In future posts, we’ll explore the concept of Self-in-Presence — which could paralleled to the witness-consciousness (of yoga) or the observer (in meditation) — and consider this in the context of Einstein’s quote:
The felt sense isn’t the problem, it’s already the solution beginning to form…
…When you pause and invite a fresh felt sense about a situation in your life, you are going beyond the usual ways you think about it. You are allowing the “whole feel” of it to come, without requiring it to be clear or make sense.
The forming of a felt sense takes you beyond your usual and habitual concepts to a fresh way of living. It is the change in your life beginning… (continues)
“Most people think of the mind as being located in the head,” writes Diane Ackerman in “A Natural History of the Senses,” “but the latest findings in physiology suggest that the mind doesn’t really dwell in the brain but travels the whole body on caravans of hormone and enzyme, busily making sense of the compound wonders we catalogue as touch, taste, smell, hearing, vision.” (Via – The New York Times – Time to Write? Go Outside)
“What is happening physiologically when we experience the felt sense?”
…And it’s a great question: What is happening physiologically when we experience a felt sense? If we can answer that one easily, we can perhaps explain Focusing – and its benefits – to more people.
The answer has two stages: (1) that our organisms have a natural ability to respond to life situations holistically, and (2) when we pause and become aware of those responses, and let them form freshly, that is a felt sense.
Let’s take #1 first. Whatever situation you are in, your body-mind is already responding to. If you catch a glimpse of a person across the street, even before you have consciously processed who that is, your body is already responding in a dozen ways to the person who has already been recognized. You are pulling away or walking forward in delight and then you realize who the person is.
We don’t first understand the world as made up of categories, and then respond one by one to those categories. We are first in the world, living forward… and then if categories are useful we come up with them later.
Your body-mind, your organism, already understands your life situations better than your conscious mind. I think actors know about this! Actors know that if you put your body into a relationship on a set, and let that situation come alive, you will BE there, expressively, in a whole body way that you never could have planned out fully in advance.
#2: If you follow me that far, then one step further: Felt sensing is pausing and becoming aware of the way your body-mind holds the situation. That additional dimension of awareness allows access to the multiple possibilities that are implicit in the situation. There is always more… and with felt sensing we can feel and explore that “more,” directly. | read more here