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Focusing in Meditation

Focusing is a practice originated by Gene Gendlin in the 1960's. I won't try to define Focusing. There are many sites that do that well, the one I have just given, and this one, and there is now a comprehensive online library of Gene's work, well worth a visit.

Focusing can be used in many ways and for many different purposes, but my interest is in using it in meditation. For me, Focusing is the art of bringing together what I feel in my body (a 'felt-sense') and a symbolisation of that felt-sense (usually a word, phrase or concept) in such a way that each is enriched, and neither is swamped by the other.

Thinking, Intellectualising and Focusing in Meditation
In most meditation styles, thinking or 'intellectualising' is a terrible sin! In my work on Focusing with Josiah Hincks, I came to realise that it is a resource I cannot afford to disdain.

The Limits of Logic - a Mathematical View
This article does not really belong in this 'Focusing' section, but I put it here as a corrective to the article immediately above, where I revel in my new-found discovery that thinking, and logic even, can profitably be a part of my meditation. Of course, logic has limits, and here is my mathematician's view of why exactly logic alone cannot take me where I need to go (although of course it is a useful ally).

Focusing in Buddhist Meditation
Now I have become comfortable using Focusing in my meditation, I think that what the Buddha meant by vicara, 'evaluation', corresponds closely to this style of Focusing. This article is in my 'Buddhist' section, but has a few paragraphs on the equivalence I detect between Focusing and vicara.

A Meditation Sitting With Focusing
A meditation teacher I have worked with, Jason Siff, suggests writing a journal sometimes of a meditation sitting - I resisted this when he first told me, but since then I have found it often to be useful. This is an account of one particular meditation sitting during the period when I was working with Josiah of bringing Focusing into my meditation practice.

Meditation: A personal view using the language of Gene Gendlin
Gene Gendlin is a philosopher who deserves to be better known. His philosophy of the implicit provides a framework for thinking about, and from, bodily meaning and human living. He has derived Focusing and Thinking at the Edge from this philosophy. I wrote this essay after a meeting with Gene in April 2008 at which we discussed my interest in meditation.

Touching the Body with the Breath
This essay continues my project to explain and make precise my own meditation - both what it is, and why I do it. The language I use is again inspired by the philosophy of Gene Gendlin. However, if you don't know what that is, there are only one or two paragraphs in this essay (towards the beginning) that you will find difficult, or incomprehensible even, and which you can just gloss over. If you are interested in Gene's philosophy, he has recently written two papers which summarize much of it: Implicit Functioning (as a Word 2003 doc, or as a PDF) and First and Third Person Processes (as a Word 2003 doc, or as a PDF).

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