More About Mindfulness & Focusing

More About Mindfulness & Focusing
October 9, 2014 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing Tip #443

“Mindfulness and meditation are a far cry from stepping away from our feelings.”

Last week we had a question from a reader who wondered if mindfulness could be a way of stepping away from feelings. I said it could be. This week I’m delighted to share a response from Julie Suhr:

Julie writes:
As you know, I have followed Focusing for some time, and I am now also a mindfulness meditation student in the mold of Jon Kabat Zinn and Insight Meditation. My response to the original question is that mindfulness and meditation are a far cry from stepping away from our feelings. In fact, several practices have you specifically stay with feelings and sensations, specifically the feeling sense in the body— such as pain, discomfort, restlessness — and sit with it respectfully, much as in Focusing, observing its qualities, its inevitable changes as we sit, and most of all attending with kindness and compassion— without judgment.

What meditation and mindfulness does so well, as does Focusing, is help us to get away from our tendency to storify (tell ourselves stories) about why we feel the way we do and what we should do about it. Be in the moment with the felt experience just as it is and attend to it unfolding. As with Focusing, the path forward becomes all that much clearer in my experience.

For me Focusing is very rich, and mindfulness meditation is very rich. They are completely compatible and entirely worth the process.

Dear Julie,
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom on this!

Yes, I have heard that Insight Meditation includes specifically staying with the feeling sense in the body, with kindness, without judgment. And that is great.

I would point out though, as I’m sure you know, that this is not yet Focusing. Staying with feeling senses in the body is a preliminary step to Focusing…but Focusing goes further.

With Inner Relationship Focusing, we form a relationship with what is there, that is interested and curious…and “it” starts to communicate with us. Focusing isn’t just witnessing, it’s a warmer relationship than that.

But that doesn’t take away from your point that both are rich processes…and that mindfulness meditation as you do it would not take people away from feelings. Thank you!



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