Focusing and spirituality
Although I rarely make it explicit, for me Focusing is inherently a spiritual practice. As well as meditation, Focusing helps me to stay centred and grounded. It encourages compassion for myself and others.
If I’m experiencing challenging times in spiritual life or daily life, I have the practice of Focusing to support me.
Focusing has direct links to many religious traditions, based on crossings and connections made by people who belong to these traditions.
David Rome is a Buddhist teacher who has written about Focusing in his book, ‘Your Body Knows the Answer’, and there is a community of Buddhist Focusers in Britain and across the world. Ed McMahon and Pete Campbell have written from the Christian perspective. And I know Focusers from many other religious perspectives; Jewish, Muslim, Quaker, Shamanic and Sufi.
I have had times of questioning whether Focusing fits with my spiritual practice.
I thought the personality is all illusion anyway, based on false beliefs and illusory thoughts, and why would I want to give attention to my dysfunctional functioning. I came to realise that Focusing embraces and includes everything; my personality and all beings, the planet and the cosmos. Diving deep into my personal experience is the same as expanding out into all that is, because they are not separate
People wonder if Focusing is a selfish activity; narcissistic naval-gazing.
They come to realise that only by healing ourselves can we heal our relationships. People who practice Focusing are more able to contribute to society, and be more truly themselves.
Here are some inspirational quotes from contemporary spiritual teachers who include the body felt sense in their teachings:
Pointing to the value of waiting with the felt sense, and listening for the life-forward direction to emerge.
‘There is no structure here. And yet… A different kind of structure is growing organically out of the present moment and it knows where it’s going.’
Echhardt Tolle, ‘The Art of Presence’.
Adhyashanti is a Zen teacher who also points towards finding the inner direction of your life energy.
‘You feel where events are moving, and you feel for the right thing to do. It’s like a river that knows which way to turn around a rock – to the left or to the right. It’s an intuitive and innate sense of knowing.
‘This kind of flow is always available to us, but most of us are too lost in the complexities of our thinking to feel that there’s a simple and natural flow to life. But underneath the turmoil of thought and emotion …, there is indeed a flow. There is a simple movement of life.’
Adhyashanti ‘The End of Your World.’ P. 156.
Adhyashanti also says:
‘All that is required is that you begin to notice that place within you that’s not struggling… It’s really a one-point plan: Notice that the peace, this end of struggling, is actually already present.’
Adhyashanti ‘Falling into Grace’ P. 77.
Focusing teaches you how to do this.