Focusing Tip #764 – Sensing and Describing

Focusing Tip #764 – Sensing and Describing
August 11, 2021 Ann Weiser Cornell
How can I trust what I'm feeling

Focusing Tip #764 – The practice of sensing and describing

What if you think you are feeling something, but you aren’t sure… and you wonder if you are making it up? Read on…


Sonia writes:

Sometimes when I sense something in my body, I doubt if it is real or not. If I put my attention on it, I think I am creating something that isn’t really there.

How can I trust what I am feeling?

Dear Sonia:

What I recommend is that you speak very simply about what you sense in your body. Start with what is undoubtable.

“I am sensing something. Something is here.”

Right? No question, there is something here. (If you’re not sure about that, check again.)

You might have a doubt whether it is about something in your life, or whether it is just your indigestion. Or just how you are sitting.

That’s OK. It doesn’t matter where it came from. It is here. That’s our starting place.

Now start to describe it. The description should also be very simple. Just describing what it feels like. “Tight.” “Heavy.” You don’t have to guess. You can feel directly what it feels like.

Let’s say you get the word “tight.” Now offer the word “tight” back to the feeling. Is that right? Maybe it is! Or maybe another word fits better. “Constricted” might come, for example. Or “pressure.”

By staying very close to the actual felt experience, you don’t need to doubt what you are feeling.

This practice in simple sensing and describing is actually the first skill of Focusing. Although it is simple, it does need practice, because we often have habits of interpreting, analyzing, or even arguing with our feelings… and those get in the way.

“I am sensing something… yes, that much is true.” It all starts there!

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