Focusing Meditation for Autumn
Autumn is a time for letting go and releasing things that have been a burden. Just as the leaves fall, so too can we release thoughts, feelings and response patterns that have outlived their time.
Autumn reminds us of the impermanence of everything. We are asked to remember death and what it means to engage this consciously.
Autumn Exercise – Focusing.
This exercise is about attending to the body in a particular way that allows information to come present naturally.
The following script for the focusing process can be recorded so that you can do it easily. [Adapted from E. T. Gendlin (1978). Focusing. New York: Everest House.]
“Take some time to become quiet. Begin by noticing your breath as it moves in and out of your body… noticing the rise and fall of your chest as you breath in and out. Allowing your attention to settle into your body . . . noticing any sensations. There may be sensations of tightness or holding or sensations of warmth and comfort or other sort of sensations. Just noticing whatever it is that is present for you right now.
And you can notice if there is a particular issue you want to explore right now . . .
Holding this issue in awareness, return your attention to your body . . . . noticing the breath . . . and noticing where in your body there is a feeling response to this issue. Attending now to the experience of this issue in your body. Noticing where it is you sense it and the sensations in that part of your body. Attending now to this experience of sensing the issue in the body.
And you can also notice the feeling sense around the sensations . . .the felt sense of this issue. This is like the aura or atmosphere or mood of the sensation . . . Staying with the sensation so the felt sense can emerge.Now staying with this bodily felt sense without thinking or analysing or trying to understand it in any of the usual ways. All you have to do is attend to the felt sense in the body . . . just noticing.
That’s right. Being with the felt sense in a quiet, receptive way . . .just noticing and allowing whatever is there to arise into awareness of its own accord. It may be an image, or a symbol, a word or a phrase, a memory . . . or something else that just comes into awareness of its own accord. All you need do is continue attending to the felt sense . . . just noticing . . . until there is a shift in the felt sense. Taking all the time that is needed to just be present with the felt sense . . .
And when there is a shift in the felt sense and something like an image or a word or a memory arises into awareness, take a moment to draw or write or give form to whatever has arisen in some way that expresses it as fully as possible.”
After several times you can simply enter into the internal state of attentiveness that allows images, symbols, words and memories to arise from your experience of the bodily felt sense. Hold the internal attention for several minutes, giving the mindbody system time to respond. Remember that the Focusing process is a process of being present; there is not any attempt to make words/ images/ shifts etc. happen: If something comes it comes; if not, it doesn’t. It is easy to become caught in an imagined outcome of Focusing rather than just being present.