Monday, January 18, 2016

Talk 21 - Focusing, Like Vipassana

Focusing (website) and a book by Eugene Gendlin, a professor of psychology at University of Chicago.

Focusing is described, in part, as a therapeutic technique that "teaches you to identify and change the way your personal problems concretely exist in your body."  In many ways it is vipassana, learning to become aware of one's body, feelings and thoughts and the subsequent discharge of tension.

The bullet points of the technique are:
  • Clearing A Space - getting still, aware, relaxing
  • Felt Sense - focus on the non-verbal aspects
  • Handle - like noting or labeling in vipassana
  • Resonating - checking and adjusting the handle to match the felt sense, steep in it
  • Asking - what is in this felt sense, or what makes this quality?
  • Receiving - allowing, surrendering
What focusing is not:
  • Talking to oneself
  • An Analytic Process
  • Mere Body Sensation
  • Not Just Getting In Touch With Gut Feelings - but rather the "broader, at first unclear, unrecognizable discomfort which the whole problem (all that) makes in your body".  Gendlin suggests words like heavy, tight, "like glue", cowed, jittery.
The book provides a lot of examples and exposition to flesh out the process, which could be useful for people working with vipassana.

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