Living in the Ever-Fresh
Living is always fresh, even though we may not be in touch with that freshness. The body is living that freshness, and the body is available for experiencing. Felt-sensing (Focusing) brings the unfolding edge of our embodied life into clearer view. Bringing it into focus helps it move forward. Focusing teaches us to live from the inside of a body that is always freshly present in situations. U.S. philosopher Professor Eugene T. Gendlin, who named this level of human process (using the phrase felt-sense), came up with six simple steps to help us learn to live regularly from that wisdom.
The felt sense is not surface sensations, it is not emotions, it is not ordinary everyday kinds of feelings, like sadness, happiness, and so on. The felt sense happens ‘underneath’ those feelings. It is found at the level of ‘presence.’ Hence, to have a relationship with the domain of experiencing called the ‘felt sense,’ Ann Weiser Cornell, one of Gendlin’s students, talks about cultivating ‘Self-in-Presence.’
“Focusing doesn’t belong to anybody. It belongs to everybody; doesn’t belong to Gene (Gendlin), doesn’t belong to us at the Insititute, or any of the trainers. It is a level of human process. It’s free to anybody.” – Mary Hendricks Gendlin
It doesn’t belong to a select few. Some people have the ability to readily contact this felt sense of living forward. Others find it in special circumstances. But the rest of us can learn to live from this creative power, to find this rich edge of our forward-living process, in our everyday life. We can learn to trust its vital knowing.
Focusing is a broad skill, as you would expect from its depth. It has been used successfully in community work, psychotherapy, philosophy, expressive arts, personality change, trauma work, addictions, spirituality, medicine, school teaching, architecture, and more.