“Come, seek, for search is the foundation of fortune: every success depends upon focusing the heart.” – Rumi
Focusing is a kind of applied mindfullness practice – a natural way of sensing into our body and inner experiences, so that we get beyond our usual thoughts and feelings to the underlying ‘felt sense’ of a situation. When we focus on what we are sensing, we are simply listening within – instead of telling ourselves what we are experiencing. This allows us to tap into the vast resources of our emotional intelligence and move beyond learned unhelpful beliefs and patterns that keep us ‘stuck’ in bad situations. Focusing opens up ways to access our natural intuition and creativity and return to a more natural way of processing our experiences and learning from them. In a way, Focusing is teaching you to trust your inner knowing, instead of relying on other people’s opinions. This also means that we can start ‘thinking’ with our hearts – and not just with our heads – when we are considering our problems and ways to overcome them. Focusing can be incorporated with most therapeutic approaches, which can bring a dramatic improvement to your therapy and how much you will be able to make positive changes in your life.
What are the benefits of Focusing?
Focusing was born from research by Prof. Eugene Gendlin, which found that people who benefit the most from counselling or psychotherapy are people, who pay close attention to their feelings and inner experiences and are able to communicate about them creatively. Gendlin also found ways to teach this skill that some people have naturally, so more people could benefit from therapy. Learning Focusing seem to make people feel more grounded and ‘in-synch’ with their bodies, their feelings and themselves. Focusing helps to use deeper levels of your awareness to solve issues that you are struggling with. You can learn to be with your problems or difficult feelings supportively and develop creative and intuitive problemsolving abilities for moving through inner ‘blocks’ and ‘stuck’ places. Focusing can help to clarify your thoughts and feelings, to make difficult decisions and find steps towards the life you want. Focusing also can give you tools for resolving inner conflicts and overcoming creative blocks. Focusing can be very helpful for naturally intuitive and creative people, as well – providing a way to learn how to harness their natural abilities in a more intentional way.
How do you practice Focusing?
Once you learn Focusing, you can practice Focusing alone and in Focusing partnerships – both powerful self-helping & self-healing methods. You can also pactice Focusing with a Focusing Practitioner, who can guide you towards using Focusing more effectively and developing your Focusing skills. The steps and principles of Focusing can be also used to enhance any kind of talking or body therapy, coaching, consultation or creative activities. Focusing naturally is very intrinsic to how people are when they are at their best, which means that you can use your Focusing skills in most areas of life where you want some progress and making more of your natural abilities.
What is the difference between Focusing sessions and counselling?
You can bring the same life issues to Focusing as you would to counselling and therapy. I will ask you about what brings you to the session and what you want to get out of it, but I do not need to know the details of your past or current life. You can keep private whatever you want to stay private. You can also talk about it if you want. You are not not necessarily committed to arrange regular sessions – you can contact me to book sessions whenever you feel you need them.
You can control the direction, pace and content of our sessions – it is up to you how deep you go with it, and you can stop at any time. My role as a Focusing guide will be about listening closely to your inner process and assist you to be with it in a way that supports the natural unfolding of your learning and healing process. I will also guide you towards staying safe on your inner journey, which is especially important when you are dealing with potentially overwhelming feelings or issues.
The Guest House: A Poem
This poem by Rumi gets to the heart of the Focusing attitude (and mindful living) in the most eloquent and beautiful way.
“This being human is a guesthouse.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi>