Focusing Tip #377 – What is the ultimate aim of getting a felt sense?

Focusing Tip #377 – What is the ultimate aim of getting a felt sense?
April 23, 2013 Ann Weiser Cornell

“When you get a felt sense, are you supposed to feel it shift, or understand what it’s about?”

Jasmine writes: 

“I have one question: when you experience a felt sense, are you supposed to experience it (and feel it shift) or is the aim to get closer to understanding what it’s about? What is the ultimate goal?”

Dear Jasmine,

What a great question! Let me see what comes…

The ultimate goal of all our work is to live a fuller life, to be more fully who we are. Life develops, life lives forward… and it also gets stuck sometimes, at least partially. It is at those stuck places that we can get interested in what would bring the life process developing again.

Focusing isn’t so much about understanding. After all, you know how easy it is to know what’s wrong but still not change! In Focusing we may get lots of aha’s and insights, but they aren’t what bring change, they are more the result of it. So understanding what it’s about is not the goal.

If the felt sense itself were the problem (like your tight shoulders after too much swimming) then we would expect that for it to shift would be the goal. But the felt sense is not the problem! The felt sense is actually the solution to the problem, already beginning to form. It’s the place in you that already “knows,” and is already beginning to move toward, your further, fuller life.

The felt sense isn’t the problem, it’s already the solution beginning to form…

When you pause and invite a fresh felt sense about a situation in your life, you are going beyond the usual ways you think about it. You are allowing the “whole feel” of it to come, without requiring it to be clear or make sense.

The forming of a felt sense takes you beyond your usual and habitual concepts to a fresh way of living. It is the change in your life beginning.

That’s why we emphasize making a space for a felt sense that allows it to be as it is, and sensing the “more” that emerges from it. The way it is, is much more rich with possibility than the habitual patterns that were there before we brought awareness.

Focusing is all about letting felt senses come and then attending to them so that your own change emerges. So… the goal of getting a felt sense? That’s a bit like asking for the goal of a baby! It’s to live, move forward, be itself, be yourself, whatever are the next steps of your life.


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