How does one operate from a place of quiet/presence/heart?
A Focusers asks, ‘One question I had in mind while listening to your session was, how does one operate from a place of quite/presence/heart to attend the difficult aspects/parts of oneself. Our identification with parts is very deep. In spite of my training in focusing, I struggle to operate from that space…’
I agree that our identification with parts of us goes very deep.
Even though we would love to be able to live from the awakened, aware state all of the time, few of us experience that. In my view, it is enough that we can experience it at least some of the time. That shows us that there is more to us than our problems and identifications.
The more you experience quiet Presence, through such practices as meditation, mindfulness and Focusing, the less the ego identification takes such a strong hold. You may find that you no longer believe in your ego identifications quite so strongly, and you get access to your quiet mind and open heart whenever you need it. It is always there, and the more often you get in touch with it, the more readily available it becomes. Focusing addresses this by teaching several ways to operate from a place of quiet heart Presence. I have spoken about finding Presence in past Focusing Tips.
When you are Focusing, you can try and be friendly and accepting of whatever comes into your awareness; if it is a thought, a feeling, a body sensation or something subtle and undefined.
You can welcome it, trusting that it has a good reason to be there.
This is not always easy to do, in which case there are other things you can do. You can try being curious. You can recognise that there is more there that you don’t yet know and you can be genuinely interested. This gives the mind something to do. It enjoys being interested and curious, and attempting to describe what it there, when something is not easy to describe. Being curious helps you to slow down and to give it good attention. You are already becoming quieter as you do this.
Another very useful way to become quiet is to clear a space, which is the first step of Gendlin’s Focusing method.
You can do this at the beginning of your Focusing session. Notice and acknowledge all the things that are between you and feeling really good right now. With each thing that you find, you can set it aside for now, imagining that you are putting it outside of your body, clearing a space. When you have made a space, you can notice if you are feeling more peaceful or at ease in your body. If that is so, then it is worth spending time with that good feeling, so you are encouraging it to grow.
And finally, a word about expectations.
Life is an ongoing process.
Parts of us are looking for change and growth, and other parts resist the growth, in case they become redundant or might have to change in ways that are unacceptable to them.
My view is that we develop Presence through ongoing practice over time. It does not mean that we will get rid of our difficulties. It does mean that we have resources to cope and we are stronger through having access to a quiet mind and open heart.
Keeping a balance of attention between the painful problem and open, spacious Presence brings a loosening of stuck behaviours and patterns.
FINDING A SAFE SPACE
I have just received this one minute video link from Nada Lou, of Gene Gendlin explaining how to find your safe space.