In this seventh preamble in the series I call The Doors of Perception, what is explored is the issue of power and the need for control—and how I have struggled with this conflict most of my life, passionately wanting something and holding back, that stops me with equal measure.
Again, I am being transparent in living in a direct experience of my own history as I give voice to these events from childhood to the present day and how the conflict is gradually resolving, offering something fresh, better than imagined! Humpty Dumpty, (wholebodyfocusing.com), is a witness to all those shattered pieces coming together—amazingly. My Humpty Dumpty came into the world with an intuitive kind of Perception, awakened very early in life: an encounter with a cat—not on a hot tin roof—but a cat looking for warmth right there, a warm breath, sitting on my mouth, stopping my breath that early spring morning! I am in a baby crib, outdoors alone in the fresh air.
It seems that much of my life was preoccupied with just that, holding back, tensing my body to hold back, not feel, not say. No room for the joy of the flow of just being, just being me. It seemed to suppress that deeper empowerment, that part of me that does know something and wants to have a life of its own. It still does! The fear of life seems to overwhelm the joy of living. That became my reality, my preoccupation to stop, to control and prevent. “I mustn’t!” There was no room for anything else, namely, to enjoy my own empowerment, there to be loved and appreciated.
Gradually the confusion is beginning to clear as my inner wisdom is finding its way through this apparent conflict. It needed rebuilding a whole new structure, starting from the bottom up, finding my feet, rather than trying to function from a top down that just didn’t fit.Gradually I am emerging as the person I know and love. This is me, coming home to me! The Love of me!
These preambles are all about inviting a direct experience—in words, as they are sounded out, then explored, as you listen to me. This is a mutual, bodily-felt event happening as an experience of me and then a sense of you.
It starts with feeling something inside myself. I pause and I wait for the words to come. For your part, you hear the sound of them. Maybe notice that.
This is an opportunity to create a mutual experiencing with each other in this kind of direct experience. Direct—you and me—two different worlds awaken to one another each in our own way as we speak and listen together.
So, let’s see what comes in this next podcast. It came suddenly in the early morning. I wrote it down immediately, because it needed to be precise: “I know something before I know what it is.”
Those were the very words that excited me. I knew I wanted to spend time with it, companion it as I share this experience with you. Speaking out—aware you are there too. To include another beyond myself seems to benefit the whole experience in its possibilities of revelations.
Again, the podcast speaks for itself. It offers surprises, twists and turns that happen. Full stop!……. it brought me right back to an earliest moment of life. Freshly remembered now; perhaps the first experience of awakening to human consciousness, noticing, something is not right! Followed by an instantaneous response, a loud scream that seems to say, get the fuck off me. That is what it felt like then and now—right now—I feel the force of it!
I was in a baby crib—a few months old—left outside in the early spring. A cat jumped on me, sat on my mouth to feel the warmth from my breath. My response was instantaneous, I can still smell it, its fur on my face. Maybe I felt my breathing blocked. I reacted with force. Get the fuck off me! It got the message and fled. I felt it gone. I felt empowered, it brought relief. In other words, it felt good. It worked and it taught me, I can do it! And I still feel that same powerful reaction inside: Something is not right here!
What was your first reaction to something like that in your life? A moment when it felt life-threatening. What did you perceive? What was your reaction?
For me, I acted with anger and yelled like hell. It was over in a second. But the pattern stuck, maybe because I felt I could! It worked! And I liked it, it felt empowering. I got noticed!
And that is what I want to explore now. It is a pattern that is still there, feels good, but it also causes trouble; it feels conflicted with other parts of me. I seem to react too quickly before taking action! For example, to type a message: so much confusion happens right there as I type. As though I am too much in a hurry. Almost like a panic; I have to do something—do something now!
Back to those opening words that excited me; “I know something before I know what it is.” This time, I pause; I wait for the feel of it to come again. Suddenly I hear Gene’s words—Gene Gendlin saying, with a tone of gentle curiosity: “Oh, so you don’t know! (pause) You don’t know yet!” This feels like heartfelt listening at its best.
Something shifts right now, as I put words to it! A new clarity comes now, not the panicked hurried feeling I know so well. And it feels new, I can feel space inside. I have some room, room to pause, to breath, wait and see with a kind of curiosity…to see what wants to come here. What wants to come next. The pull to act quickly is also here, but the desire to wait and see is even more compelling!
The Olympic diver comes to mind again. How he practices that perfect dive, enjoying the whole event slowly in his wonderful imagining, feeling it all, the whole of it. Waiting for the right moment to happen and then it does. Effortlessly it just flows.
The crowd cheers and so do I. I can do this too. And I want to…….
There is a pattern in these podcasts; they end with a question as though there is something more to be added and yet I don’t know what that is. And there is a sense that this is enough for now. Just accepting that; it is as though it seems to want time and space to fulfill itself in its own wisdom.
In this podcast entitled: We Want to Dance with One Another, I awaken to a sense of myself; me, and then you, coming from that sense in the warmth in each other. This podcast explores this question with some surprises that speak from themselves better than I could if I tried to! And then they open a door to something else that wants my attention. What stops me?
Once again, I am using my own exploration of giving voice to my own direct experience of an issue that is dear to my heart and perhaps to yours too—how to feel connected to myself and to life outside in ways that satisfies us and brings so much more to life around us when we can.
Guiding Suggestions: Please remember to become grounded in yourself first before you listen to make room another person’s experience.
What comes to me is appreciating that Gene Gendlin spent his whole life exploring what is already there from the get-go. What is already implied—the whole of it, being felt in our body, waiting for it to be more fully realized. It becomes the story of our life and how that is acted out—and its possibilities.
As Gendlin said, “Although basic to living, implicit knowing is often overlooked precisely because it is implicit.”
That is what I am doing here, right now: having a sense of what is there, being felt in my body, pausing, allowing what is being felt in me the space it needs to find the words to form, and then words come in speech. For me this is a demonstration of ‘felt sensing’ in action.
The theme that is presented here flows from the theme just before this, Perception. At the end of Perception, the next piece seems to go directly to The Fulfillment of Desire—that sense of wanting from the get-go.
I have suggested that this is a new series of Thinking in Experiencing, of something emerging directly from the experience itself, rather than trying to describe what that experience might be.
I realize now that this new series began in a podcast, namely: A very Persistent Love at the Heart of all Creation, followed by So Stuck and then it is Not, which was the first time that I spoke up and out with such passion! It not only shook up a very familiar stuck place, it was also followed by a flow of thoughts that arose directly from that physical awakening, associated memories that seemed to find their words too! Next came an exploration of the sense of Perception.
In this series of themes, I am attempting to express this process of saying out loud what is being felt from inside, pausing, and then allowing the vibration of such thoughts to flow from there. It may sound strange and unfamiliar, not smooth flowing. It is coming from a more vulnerable place as I wait for the words to form themselves from inside. They may sound unsure, hesitant, and yet just right. Some words come as a complete surprise.
In this theme called The Fulfillment of my Heart’s Desire, I go back to my first awakening, so very young, innocent, vulnerable. A consciousness that awakens a sense of me here. And yet, they all have one thing in common. These come as a surprise, a kind of discovery, a growing self-awareness of knowing me more in some way. What is also significant is that these moments are never forgotten; they are as present right now as they were then, nothing added or subtracted. They seem to be a direct experience of life itself.
Of course, there are many, many other kinds of experiences throughout my lifetime, but they will not have that kind of impression of everlasting and alive in the same way. They come from a different place. They are essential, another kind of knowing, useful to my growth and well-being. But the experience is qualitatively different, a kind of a learning process, maybe something I have to struggle with.
Finally, I am sharing something that I realize is a daily practice that seems to fit the kind of life that comes naturally to me, perhaps more reflective and internalized rather than socially outer-directed. They seemed the very opposite of what I was trained to do and think, how I must learn to be this other way in order to be loved and accepted. For example, my father was a natural athlete—I didn’t have that kind of spirit of competition. I was more curious about how things work together, how they fit in a way that seems complementary—that adds more to the situation because they are different. That felt more satisfying than being a winner!
Over time, what has emerged gradually is this bodily awareness that I experience now. When someone is true to themselves in some way, I can feel it in me. It is palpable! I suddenly feel alive in me too! It feels mutual—like a shared experiencing that feels good for all of us.
Listening suggestion: In these podcasts, you might feel the words first, letting your body experience the words, taking them in, and then letting the meaning flow spontaneously from there.
The doors of perception, a direct experience of something that keeps knocking on my door for attention.
This is the beginning of a new series I am proposing, something that has become a daily practice in my life that perhaps might be useful in other people’s lives too?
In the spirit of Wholebody Focusing and Heartfelt connecting, I want to give voice to something as an experience of a mind-body expression as it pauses to give space for words and thoughts to come together to form what is happening inside me right now. It seemed to come from a different place of thinking; thinking directly from a felt sense of an experience, rather than thinking about an experience that engages into a thought about what, why or how, etc. It really is a very different activity and seems to come from a very different location in the body, and very difficult to describe in words. Do you appreciate that there can be a difference between the two?
These are themes that come in me from time to time that seem to want my attention. They just want to be noticed and for me to make space for them to do so. To being felt, giving it some breathing room for it to inform me in some new way for my own well-being.
Today’s theme is on the nature of perception and how it seems to be a first response, a reaction coming from outside my world. What happens in me when I sense that or look for that? What do I do?
Do I image it first? Do I sense it first? Do I look for a right action? Or do I just act because I must?
This is what I am exploring today as my natural process in coming to know something freshly. Maybe you would like to join me here, something happening there in you too? Perhaps just the sound of a voice that points to something familiar?
Photo Credit: Diana Scalera, East Village, NY 2009
When the opportunity to tune into myself and hear myself speak out like this, my body responds immediately as though I am having this experience all over again. At the same time, I am noticing that I am doing so. This enables me to hold both at the same time, one after the other. The physical experience in the moment coming alive again, and then to be able to report to you what that brings in my consciousness as a thought about this experience. So, I am trying once again to hold both the experience and then the thought from which the experience has awakened.
This short recording of about 15 minutes seems to have a series of three different physical experiences that seem to follow one after the other, coming with the first outburst, “I am stuck!”
“I am stuck, I am so stuck etc.” seems to awaken a very powerful shaking in my body, vibrating all through me. Just a few simple but very clear words, but direct and passionate in its delivery with the full force of intention. “I am stuck!”
I am almost shocked that I can actually speak out this way as though I have broken some kind of taboo. I say it again because I feel I want to—as though I like the sound of my voice. “I am stuck.” I actually begin to smile—almost into laughter—and say even more clearly with more vigor—as though I am enjoying myself!
This vocal experience, sounding off like this, feels very new and very freeing, breaking through some kind of prohibition that I mustn’t speak. I must not say this or something bad will happen to me. There is also a fear right there that is so familiar, a fear that stops me from expressing myself, fearing that something very, very, bad will happen! A belief embedded in me that comes right there when I have a deep reactive felt response that feels so not right. Yes, something bad will happen, I’m sure of it. This fear is like I will go to hell for all eternity, I will be punished severely, I will break my mother’s heart. Very dramatic fears that hold me back enough to remain silent.
But in this moment, as I hold both the experience and then my awareness, something also happened at the same time that I can mark right now. I can feel the physical vibration, the shaking. The fear is there and the words that come saying, “I mustn’t”! but there is more in this experience that feels new. My body is moving, shaking out, vibrating all the way through me, the very opposite of what one would describe as being ‘stuck’! The stuck is not happening, something new is happening and it seems as a very different experience of what that word ‘stuck’ points to!
The word is still there–‘stuck,’–but the experience has moved on to something quite different from what I believe that word is pointing to: stuck in place, rigid, held, tight etc. That is not the experience I am having right now; something quite different, something that I can’t describe, no words yet but the feel of it is so different! What I also notice is that I am noticing. That I have some sense of space to notice these two different expectations and reactions which enables me not only to notice but also to choose, to choose what I might want, rather than the familiar habitual response (I mustn’t), some form of stoppage. I am actually enjoying it, enjoying my own empowerment that I can choose, perhaps for the first time. And I like that.
The whole situation has changed, and in this moment, by holding both, I can speak and perhaps even begin to put words to what has now happened. Physically, I am shaking all over, and at the same time I am enjoying myself in this experience, enough to keep repeating it with a kind of bad-boy intention, I am feeling so stuck, ha ha ha! Yes, whatever is happening, even before I can put words to it, I know I’m having a life-affirming experience right now and I want it. Yes, that kind of bad-boy sounding out there feels almost sexual and knotty in some way. I am feeling so stuck now feels so good: so stuck, so good! And I’m not in hell! My mother is not there, nothing bad is happening! So, I play with the freedom of that, enjoying the freedom that comes in speaking that way, speaking out against something that I believe must never be said!
I am allowing myself to express “what I mustn’t” with passion! It is as though I am almost daring to challenge life itself!
I realize this is only the first part of the recording. As I enjoy this speaking out in this way and having this enjoyable experience of empowerment, something more comes in my consciousness to remind me of something else about myself. Something of how it was for me as a young boy growing up in the school where I didn’t seem to fit in because my experience was different from those of other boys. This is coming out of nowhere now, but the recording seems to have moved on towards another experiencing that want to be noticed too. Other painful places that are stuck in some kind of old belief systems.
I was reminded about being in grade 3, being taught basic arithmetic. I was taught “1+1= 2″. It was implied that this was the first principle of mathematics; truth number one and all else follows. But I was surprised that what seemed to be the accepted truth was not my experience! In fact, I could not accept that this statement was true at all! I knew I had to comply and pretend, perhaps, that I agree with it. But at the same time, I knew in my heart that this was not true for me. What to do? How to live with that split in me? It is still there, stuck!
So, I took the opportunity here to play with my experience once again with counting the numbers from 1 to 10 and then to notice how that was for me. As I spoke out these words slowly, I was surprised to find myself able to count is this felt way, pausing before the next number presents itself. It seemed to make room for another experience that didn’t exclude the mathematical principle, but it included something more too, a sense of space inside, a spaciousness around me and beyond me, life happening over there too.
So the principle could be accepted as a truth, a function that worked in a particular way, but I also could make room for other experiencing happening at the same time. It was not a question of having to choose one or the other. I have the capacity to hold both. The basic principle of mathematics seems to come from a different place, kind of man-made place. Perhaps an essential place for a man to function today. In short, I was able to hold both for more. So much more which included not only thinking but also feeling, tasting, touching, smelling, seeing, hearing etc. So rather than arguing with this formula, there was room in me to expand my experience of more possibilities that are also true, each in their own way. Not just one truth, perhaps many; many I have no sense of—at least not yet.
Feeling satisfied with this long-held anxiety about basic principles around mathematics and finding some kind of peace with the ability to hold differing ways of thinking and experiencing, something new appeared out of the blue again. What came was the recent memory of a shared experience with another person in a Heartfelt Listening situation. It seemed directly connected to the first experience of “I feel stuck”. That kind of sounding off reminded me when another person just did something similar, similar enough that felt somehow mutual like, “we know this place!”
This person said something out loud as she noticed her hands. Staring at them she cried: “My hands are so busy, they are always so busy, they never stop, they drive me crazy.”
I listened to her outburst and also noticed her hands. I noticed her hands were pulled inward at the beginning and then they seemed to do something quite different when she gave voice to what she felt about that. That kind of direct voicing of such an experience seemed to awaken her hands to expand in some new way. They looked bigger, with a different kind of expressing. She too was struck by happening in here, in her hands, and I heard her say, “Oh my God, my hands feel so different, they feel so loving of me. Wow, I love that!”
That whole thing over there, in her, felt true in me too! It felt like she was speaking ‘truth’. And as she did it, I could see the change happening. Her hands seemed to take on a life of their own, independent of her prior outburst of pent-up frustration. They seem to be coming from a very different place now.
What was also very surprising in me was that my own hands were doing something similar too! Something was happening in my hands that felt good, very life-affirming. And I wanted to speak up. I didn’t quite know how to describe that, so I said something: “It feels like I am borrowing your hands for a moment so that my hands can do something like that for me too.” And as I spoke, I could feel my hands beginning to move upward beside my head space to nourish this part of me that had felt so tight and tense at the start of this recording.
Something mutual had happened between us, a kind of ‘energy presence’ that was not of our own making, a presence that has a mind of its own that was mutually supportive in both of us each in our own way. It felt like a Heartfelt Connection as though I could say, “loving is happening here!” Something loving was happening between us that was life supporting for each of us as needed! The only way I could describe this was that “the life in her hands seemed to awaken the life in my hands for more in some way that was needed in my life too.”
The whole thing seems to be complete and I knew it was time to end the recording. So many different events in my life seemed to come together in one moment of integration and awareness in a variety of very different situations at different times and events in my life. Coming together one after the other right now. So grateful, Amen.
What does Heartfelt Connection feel like in a person’s body? What happens if other people watch two people engage in a Heartfelt way? How can the energy of this experience carry over into other’s lives? Also, what does this have to do with Quantum Physics and Quantum Entanglements?
The podcast below by Kevin McEvenue describes such an event that can give us insight into these questions. Kevin participated in an International Focusing Institute event in which Rob Parker was discussing Gene Gendlin’s work when he suddenly stopped and felt into his body. What comes next is an extraordinary entanglement that resonated not only for Rob and Kevin but also for the whole group watching their connection unfold and later for someone completely unconnected to the event or anyone who participated in the event except for Kevin.
If you ever asked any of the questions above, this is the podcast for you. Enjoy listening to the unfolding of this experience of Heartfelt Connection between two leaders of focusing who never met before.
Photo Credit: Michael LuxRollright Stones on the Oxfordshire & Warwickshire border in England
Like never before in history, this generation has at its disposal new and wonderful evidence from science, confirming the presence and power of what many of us would call A Very Insistent and Persistent Love at the heart of all creation.
Richard Rohr 2019
Dear Friends who are exploring Heartfelt Connection and Conversation, an article that appeared this morning touched me as a kind of historical support to this new experiencing that is emerging of connecting with other people that is natural on a cellular level.
It comes from quantum physics with a new aspect of connection that expands my sense of what happens when we bring our attention to the physical body and how it responds to that kind of attention. This piece expands the same exploration to include connections with other people that is vital to me in order to develop my sense of me more, instead of me less.
The views and words expressed here fit my own spiritual experience and direction but they seem to meet all of us regardless of the history and culture that we follow. For me, it is the path of the mystic, a person who chooses to live a life that seems inner-directed. People with whom I feel understood and appreciated draw me to them before I know what it is that is in me.
That might be enough, but if you would like to read further about what excited my experience today as a kind of support in this way of being here, it is in words. As I work with different people in our various ways, I see something in each one emerging here in one form or another.
Here is the link to Richard Rohr’s November 7, 2019 article The Field of Love that inspired me this morning.