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Focusing Tip #695 – “The strong sensation makes it impossible to feel any subtle sensation…”

Focusing Tip #695 – “The strong sensation makes it impossible to feel any subtle sensation…”
March 11, 2020 Ann Weiser Cornell
What if a strong painful sensation is all you can feel? Read on...

Focusing Tip #695 – “The strong sensation makes it impossible to feel any subtle sensation…”

What if a strong painful sensation is all you can feel? Read on…


Anna writes:

I was reading your book and trying to do Focusing on my health.

Any time I relax and try to bring my attention to what’s happening in the body I become more aware of the pain at the center of my chest, above the stomach, like a stone.

This strong sensation makes it impossible to feel any subtle sensation… and you said in your book the sensation should be subtle. Must I do something else first to be able to do Focusing?

Dear Anna:

I’m sorry I gave the impression in my book The Power of Focusing that the felt sense must be subtle. It is often subtle. But not always.

The power of Focusing comes from being able to be present to however we feel, whatever we are experiencing, in exactly the place and in the way that it presents itself. I call this “the radical acceptance of everything.”

I get the impression that you find this pain uncomfortable. You might be finding it difficult to simply be with it as it is.

If you cannot accept the painful feeling… because it is too unpleasant… then it is important to be accepting to the not-accepting.

How do you do that?

ONE: Start by saying “Something in me has a hard time accepting this feeling.” And then: “I am saying Hello to that.”

TWO: Hold both in your awareness by saying, “I am sensing pain at the center of my chest, like a stone, AND I am sensing something in me that doesn’t like it. And I am here with both.”

The important point is to bring empathy, compassion, and curiosity to how we feel.

With a physical sensation like this one, it is also important not to assume that you know what causes it. (That’s where the curiosity comes in!)

I think that the pain at the center of your chest is exactly what needs your attention. It is not subtle because it is calling so loudly for your empathy! If you listen… I suspect there is a lot that it would like to let you know.

Note: Pain in the chest could be a heart attack signal. Please check with your medical professional if you are not sure.

The Power of Focusing

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