November 15 2005

November 15 2005
February 13, 2006 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing is a fresh entering into our experience of life and situations, right now, just as we are.

Describing Not Labeling

Imagine that I’m asking you to close your eyes and hold out your hands. A surprise? Don’t peek!

You feel something being placed in your hands… an object of some kind. Notice what it feels like… soft? cool? smooth or rough?

Notice if it’s possible to keep describing it without trying to say WHAT the object is. Hard to do? Yes, if you’re like the students in my latest Path to Lasting Change, Part One workshop who tried this exercise. They noticed that there was a strong tendency to try to name or label the object–to say what is IS. And they noticed that once they had named it, their fresh curiosity about what it was like began to close down.

What It’s LIKE, Not What It IS

The same is true, of course, in the inner world. When you label your experience, when you know what it IS, you shut down your access to the intricate, fresh, unique, ever-changing quality of it. It stops being alive for you.

If I find a tightness in my chest and I label it “my fear of the unknown,” I’m at a dead end. I can go no further; that’s it. And I throw up my hands and say, “Now what? Better find someone to help me release this!”

But if I don’t label it but just stay interested in what it feels like, I stay open to it, and there is a possibility of change, evolution, transformation, held in the experience itself.

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