Who You Think You Are
Accessing the creative unconscious mind is an area of deep fascination for me. It is often challenging to access our deeper sense of self. Many of us think that we are the primary personality that we present to the world.
Most of us think the same thoughts over and over again. When fresh spontaneous thoughts come, you can be sure that you are listening to the deeper aspects of your being.
Below I share how to take the journey to the edge of the unknown parts of your body-mind, informed and inspired by the book Focusing-Oriented Psychotherapy by Eugene Gendlin.
Sensing Into What You Do Not Yet Know
Step 1: The Directly Sensed "Source"
We all experience qualities of things that cannot be immediately spoken or conceptualized. When something emerges from your unconscious, you may not be able to immediately sense its source.
You might have a poignant dream or a surprising image might pop into your mind. You might have strong emotions well up, and not know where they are coming from.
With practice, you can learn how to sense into the "border zone" between the conscious and the unconscious. If you cry unexpectedly, for example, you can sense into the body for the "crying place" and pay attention to that place for a period of time - inviting it to share more of itself.
Emotional healing requires a deep level of attention to what you do not yet know about yourself. This inner body sense is so much richer than words and you can learn how to regularly sense into it.
Step 2: The Initial Lack of Clarity
Your emerging growth direction will always unclear at first. This sensing into what is unclear differs from experiencing a known emotion. You know what it feels like to feel angry, sad or joyful. These familiar emotions are easily explainable.
When you feel vague discomfort, you likely cannot immediately name this quality within. The edge of this discomfort is felt but unclear. This discomfort is the edge between the known and the unknown.
Silence is often required at this stage because you will likely try to explain your discomfort. Yet, when you talk too soon, the subtle bodily edge of the creative unconscious can be lost.
Your personality structure resists what feels unknown, spontaneous and unstructured. Your ego structure tries to keep you controlled and safe. However, you can get comfortable with "living on the edge" of what you do not yet know.
Step 3: It Occurs in a Bodily Way
Many of us cannot sense our bodies from the inside without practice. A direct sense of the border zone between the conscious and unconscious occurs as a physical, somatic sensation. It is usually sensed somewhere in the middle of the body.
Most people try to figure out everything logically. Many people sense intense emotions as "all-around" or in the head. Your unconscious first forms a unique bodily sense, and this sense is unclear at first.
Turning away from familiar thoughts and attending to the body in a deeply meditative way attends to the new layer of the creative unconscious that is coming up for integration. When you do not pay attention to this emerging layer, you can become emotionally overwhelmed.
An unclear body sense at the border zone of the unconscious is not quite yet a usual bodily sensation. It is not quite yet an emotion. It is is not quite yet a thought. It does not quite yet have definable content. You can have a very distinct feeling that has not yet opened to reveal what it contains. This is called a bodily felt sense.
Step 4: The Felt Sense is a Whole
A felt sense is experienced as part of an intricate whole. One can sense that a felt sense includes many intricacies and strands of information. It is a whole complexity, a multiplicity contained within a rich single sense.
With the emergence of a single bodily sense, a sense of relief comes, as if the body is grateful to express its way of being whole. This subtle emerging felt sense becomes the object of attention to which you can attend.
Step 5: Change Steps Arise From the Felt Sense
When you attend to a body felt sense for a period of time, it reveals information in the form of inner pictures, words, phrases and colours.
After a period of inner body focusing on the edge of the unconscious, a growth step is revealed. When a step comes from a felt sense, it transforms the whole constellation of your inner being.
A felt sense might offer a big dramatic step or a very small one, but it always asks for a change that will create more wholeness.
Step 6: A Step Will Bring One Closer to Being Oneself
Each felt sense indicates a way to become more intimate with yourself and reveals a new way to move forward. When you sense the forward step you need to make, you feel more whole. When you tune into your felt sense each day, you will become more deeply yourself.
Step 7: Steps are in the Direction of Growth
A step that emerges from your unconscious edge has its own surprising growth direction that you cannot control through planning or goal setting. This developmental growth step becomes clearer when you offer deep attention and open up to what wants to emerge.
You likely have many parts inside that have remained silent and inert for many years. With deep attention, something stirs inside that has long been immobilized. When you pay deep attention to what is emerging from your growth edge, your life energy can flow in a fresh new way.
Step 8: Steps Can Be Explained Only Retroactively
Even the best-laid plans for your life can turn on a dime when you sense into your emerging growth edge. You can wait for each growth step to become concrete through the process of deep, daily inner attention.
When you choose to sense into your growth edge every day, you will unfold into greater wholeness, healing, and harmony in ways you could have never planned.
Sensing into the Unconscious - A Summary
- A felt sense forms at the border zone between the conscious and unconscious mind.
- The felt sense is at first unclear - although unique and unmistakably present.
- The felt sense is experienced bodily.
- The felt sense is experienced as a whole.
- The felt sense moves through steps. It shifts, opens and reveals - step by step.
- A step brings one closer to the self that is inherently whole.
- The process step that emerges has its own unexpected growth direction.
- Explanations of the step that emerged can only be understood only retroactively.
Sensing Within - A Daily Process
- Sit quietly with a journal on your lap.
- Sense for any discomfort in your body. Focus your attention on this discomfort for 10-15 minutes.
- Say to your discomfort, "What would you like me to know?
- Write down any images, phrases, words or feelings that arise. They do not need to make sense.
- Often a discomfort will simply want acceptance in the beginning. It might say something to you. It might make a request.
- Allow whatever intuitive answer comes, and follow through with action.