Focusing

Return to Why Joyality?

Purpose of Focusing

Our thoughts, emotions and body sensations all feed in together to create our world experience.
Our thoughts, emotions and body sensations all feed in together to create our world experience.

Preparation: Thought Stream

Process: Focusing on Sensations

Reflection

[Download MP3s: Focusing  (Purpose), (Preparation), (Process), (Reflection), or you can use the Transcript text below to guide others.]

Write a few notes down in your Joyality Journal about the feelings in each of these body centres … reflecting but not judging.

You might also ask yourself:
>Was it easy? Or hard?
>Was it frustrating?
>Did you find it hard to remember to do this exercise? How do you feel about that?
>Where are you feeling that?

Remember all these feelings and thoughts are relevant. They are simply telling you something important about yourself. Remember to be gentle on yourself.

Are you judging yourself? If you find you are, what are the emotions that come with this judgment? What are the thoughts? We invite you to write those down in reflection in your Joyality Journal.

By doing this, we are practising releasing the grip of tension, “shoulds” and judgments in our lives on ourselves first, so that we can be more open to self-love, self-acceptance and therefore be better available to share our fullest potential with the world.

Return to Why Joyality?

[Transcript: Focusing]

Purpose

Joyality is not just about feeling happy and good all the time. It is actually about embracing and being able to face the real emotions we feel in the moment, in any moment. In our culture, we often deny ourselves access to our real emotions in a given moment. Think about it, have you ever told yourself “I shouldn’t be angry..” or “I should feel happy right now”… ? Essentially many people on this planet have grown up thinking that feeling bad, sad, mad, socially awkward or just uncomfortable in life is a “wrong thing”. This has perhaps been because many of us were told not to feel so often … “don’t feel sad” “don’t feel bad” “be happy” as if that is the only ultimate goal of life. Of course, “not feeling” was never the intention of those that said these things to us, it was simply a misinterpretation.

We at Joyality, inspired by many compassionate healing and awareness practises, know that feeling all our emotions is a very useful thing. In fact our emotions are a gateway to personal awesomeness! Emotions can help to open us to a deeper knowing of ourselves and our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. They are signs that something is not quite resolved or sitting right within us or that something is blocked and may be pointing to a belief that is self limiting. When we are able to face our emotions or just practice sitting with them instead of pushing them away, suppressing them, being ashamed of them then we provide ourselves with a great opportunity to be able to connect with the core of ourselves. By being with and expressing emotions in a safe and personal way without projecting onto others, emotions can be more easily processed and transformed. Remember, what we resist persists and what we face and embrace given the chance will change.

There are so many ways to feel and process your emotions. You may already have some useful practices for this … some people write a journal, draw, do sport and exercise, do some yoga, meditate, go for a walk in nature, scream, cry, punch into a pillow, sing, dance, have a warm bath, just to name a few! What do you do? Reflect on this and write your answers in your Joyality Journal.

Our thoughts, emotions and body sensations all feed in together to create our world experience.
Our thoughts, emotions and body sensations all feed in together to create our world experience.

A physical feeling or sensation in the body, when you stubb your toe on the pavement, will provoke a thought “ouch that hurt” and may lead to an emotion; sadness hurt. Or if someone just said something nasty to you, you may have an emotion first, anger perhaps, which will have a thought behind it “that person is mean”, and a physical sensation tied in with it, a pain in the heart perhaps. When we can observe our thoughts, sensations and emotions as they arise we can better learn to know ourselves, our motivations and act consciously rather than re-actively in our lives.

Preparation: Thought Stream Meditation (Source: adapted from Naomi Goodlet)

These meditations help you to focus, and to get in contact with your own body and the sensations within. Know that throughout this meditation you are completely in control of yourself and you are free to slow down or pause this focusing session at any point if you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed, simply by opening your eyes and stopping the podcast. If this happens, we invite you to just sit with anything that comes up and journal about it if you feel to.

Find a comfortable place to sit, either on the ground or in a chair, where ever feels good. Adjust your sitting position until you are completely comfortable….

Now I invite you to close your eyes. You don’t need to keep your eyes closed throughout this session, but doing so might keep you in closer contact with your imagination and the sensations within your body.

Start by taking some deep breaths ..
Relaxing your body, sitting comfortably..
Now visualising that you are sitting on the bank of a gently flowing creek
Hearing the trickling sounds of the water as it cascades over the rocks….
Effortlessly making its way on the journey…
Noticing any thoughts that are trying to hook you in.. trying to distract you
You notice next to you there is a small pile of leaves, all different colours, resting on the ground…
Pick up one of the leaves and hold it out in front of you

Next time you notice a thoughts hooking you in, just place that thought on a leaf and send that leaf floating down the stream…
Just visualize and imagine what ever works for you
Watching the leaves and they float away…
And bringing yourself back to the water endlessly drifting along…
No need to worry about anything…
Just effortlessly observing the creek…
As you notice thoughts popping into your mind..
Notice the temptation to give into them and get caught up in them…
Instead softly stay in observation and place the thought on a leaf and send it sailing away.

Now it is time to observe your thoughts, not to engage with them..
There may be an endless supply of thoughts… that’s ok…
The leaves are never ending, so every time you notice a thought just placing it onto a leaf and watching it float away out of sight, again and again bringing yourself back to the stream and the sound of the trickling water.

As you watch the stream you also allow yourself to watch your mind, choosing to observe your thoughts rather than becoming them…
As any memories, judgments, worries or ideas come into your mind as they will, just place them on a new leaf and watch them float away…
By observing your thoughts you become pure awareness, by letting go of the trouble with your thoughts you become peaceful…
Letting go of any self judgment when thoughts arise to distract you from your focus, this is the way of your mind, it cannot be control, by simply allowing your thoughts to come and go you become a master..
Even if you are constantly sending thought after thoughts off down the stream you are perfecting the act of observing and allowing, allowing your thoughts to drift in and out… letting them come in placing them on a leaf and letting them drift on by….

Peacefully observing…
And gently bringing your attention back to your breathing..
Focusing on the breath…
Becoming aware again of your surroundings
Opening your eyes
And moving your body when you’re ready…

Taking a break, maybe writing a few notes in your journal about how you’re feeling right now after that experience.  How is your state of consciousness different from “normal”? Bringing yourself back to this practice whenever you feel to make the time.

When you feel ready, sit back down in your comfortable spot, ready for the next part of the process.  Closing your eyes again, if that feels good.

Process: Focusing on Sensations (Source: Phoenix Institute via Rita Gyoffry)

In your own way, take a few moments to feel your body relaxing….

Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, let your weight settle down onto the surface you are sitting on….

Feel the muscles softening a little…. And loosening… relaxing and releasing…. Just simply letting go…. Perhaps a deeper breath or two helps…. And that feeling of letting go a little more on the out breath….. Just feeling the ease of it all quite effortlessly ….. effortlessly…

With your eyes gently closed, become aware of the space before your eyes.. Relax your eyes.. just simply resting your attention there… Now pay attention to any sounds outside the room.. just listening… with a gentle curiosity… Letting the sounds come and go…. No need to judge…. Now bring your awareness to any of the sounds inside the room….letting the sounds come and go…. With simple curiosity… now bring your attention to the sound of your own breathing…. Letting the sound come and go.. with gentle curiosity…

As you bring your awareness to your breath, notice what sensations there are as you breathe in … and as you breathe out…. Feeling the air touch your nostrils… Feeling the slight movement of your chest and your tummy… Listening to the gentle sound of your breathing……

Allow your breath to take up whatever rhythm feels natural for you at the moment.… quite effortlessly..

And now bring your awareness to your centre… the feeling centre-line of your body… with the intention to check in with how you are feeling and with a willingness to include body sensations, gently ask yourself, ‘How am I feeling?’.. Bring your awareness to your throat… feel into it.. with a gentle curiosity, explore the sensations in your throat.. subtle or strong.. comfortable or uncomfortable.. any sensations… and as you feel into your throat, feel the flow of your breathing….

Bring your attention to the centre of your chest, feeling for any sensations.. a slight pressure, an ache, a tightness… a hardness or resistance to the breath.. or perhaps it feels soft and comfortable.. explore the body sensations free of any judgment… and as you feel into your chest, feel the flow of your breathing…

And now bring your awareness to your upper abdomen, above your belly button, but below your rib cage and ask yourself ‘How am I feeling?’ Notice any sensations in the upper abdomen.. a softness.. a tightness… a shakiness… a numbness… whatever sensations you find there… as you feel into your upper tummy, feel the flow of your breathing…

Now bring your awareness down to your lower abdomen… around and behind the navel…. There’s no need to analyse whether the sensations come from a physical cause or an emotional cause at this stage simply explore all the sensations in the lower abdomen… and feel the flow of your breathing…

Now open your awareness to include the whole feeling centre-line of your being.. your throat, chest, upper and lower tummy… keep the feelings company.. with curiosity and compassion… just sitting with whatever feelings are there… and as you notice the feelings in your centre, feel the flow of your breathing…

When you are ready slowly become aware of your surroundings again…
Begin wiggling your fingers and toes…
And when you are ready … in your own time open your eyes again..
And really take your time to adjust to the space with your body in it as it feels right now.
Feel free to bringing yourself back to this practice whenever you are on the go or stationary.

Reflection: Write a few notes down in your Joyality Journal about the feelings in each of these body centres … reflecting but not judging.

What you have just completed is the first step in focusing, to connect with what’s happening within your body. By connecting with your inner world, you are actually also connecting with the world around you. What is within affects what is outside. (We will be practising some focusing in the sharing circles throughout the next 8 weeks.)

You can do this exercise wherever you are throughout your day, whether you’re walking, sitting on public transport, riding a bike or sitting at a desk. See if you can remember to practice this a couple of times a day and write a few notes in your journal how it went everyday.

You might also ask yourself: Was it easy? Or hard? Was it frustrating? Did you find it hard to remember to do this exercise? How do you feel about that? Where are you feeling that? Remember all these feelings and thoughts are relevant. They are simply telling you something important about yourself. Remember to be gentle on yourself. Are you judging yourself? If you find you are, what are the emotions that come with this judgment? What are the thoughts? We invite you to write those down in reflection in your Joyality Journal.

By doing this, we are practising releasing the grip of tension, “shoulds” and judgments in our lives on ourselves first, so that we can be more open to self-love, self-acceptance and therefore be better available to share our fullest potential with the world.

Return to Why Joyality?

© Copyright 2015 Eshana Bragg and Rachel Taylor

* Source: Rita Gyorffy, inspired by material from Focusing Australia via The Phoenix Institute’s Transpersonal Counselling course including the Thought Steam meditation by Naomi Goodlet.

 

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