Something lives in you

Something lives in you

1st May 2019 Focusing 0
A face that evolves from the formless.

The felt sense is forming (Image by Gerd Altmann on Pixabay)

It lives. It lives in you. Can you hear it? Feel it? See it? Sometimes it is barely perceptible. A slight pressure somewhere in your body, a queasy feeling in your stomach, a picture or a memory emerges.

You think that is nothing. These are just thoughts, any fantasies that have arisen arbitrarily.

Sometimes it gets stronger. You are constantly thinking about something. About an unpleasant incident or a problem at work that you want to solve. You can barely stop your thoughts.

Emotions are emerging. You’re mad at someone or you’re afraid to do something you’ve wanted to do for a long time. But you do not dare to do it and instead you are constantly complaining.

You think that the emotions will disappear, that the stress will subside and eventually everything will be better.

None of this happens arbitrarily. That’s all in you. It lives in you. It leads its own life. It wants to talk to you. It gets louder, but you are not listening.

The Living Something is formless

This Living Something is a part of you. And it takes on some form when it communicates with you. At the beginning this may be so subtle that you do not even notice it. Also, it is difficult to describe it because there are no concrete words for what you are perceiving. It’s just too vague or too formless.

The Living Something is taking control

If the Living Something is ignored, it is getting stronger over time, for example, through:

  • Emotions such as fear, sadness or anger, without being able to positively influence the supposed causes.
  • Dissatisfaction with what happens in your life.
  • Inability to solve problems.
  • Addictions and dependencies, performing actions that you do not want to do.
  • Postponing or not doing things that you want to do.

Changing outside

You get into a situation that you want to change. If you achieve a change, then everything is wonderful. But what happens, when even by your greatest efforts the situation does not improve? If you want opposite things at the same time? If you want to change something, but you have no strength to do it? Or you do not even know how you can change this situation?

Then there is a possibility: Listen to the Living Something. It speaks to you.

Changing inside by Focusing

While listening, disidentification is the most important thing. If you think you are that Living Something, then you cannot listen to it. But that is exactly what the Living Something needs: someone who is with him and is listening to him with interested curiosity, without evaluating it and without dismissing it as unimportant.

The Living Something can be expressed through the following forms: body sensations, emotions, thoughts, pictures and memories. Listening means directing one’s attention to these possible forms of the Living Something.

In the beginning, one usually sees only one form. If you focus your attention on this form for a longer time, you may find other forms. If all forms are perceived at the same time, the Living Something has been completely grasped. In this case there will be a deep understanding. Interrelations that has not been understood before become clear. You change. You will feel the change in your body.

But even if one perceives only one form of the Living Something and stays with it for a longer time, it comes to a change. Maybe you get new information, maybe not. But most important are the changes of the Living Something, because that also is changing you. If you change yourself, then the perception of the outer world changes and with that your actions change.

Directing attention to the Living Something is also referred to as Focusing. This method was invented by Eugene T. Gendlin [1]. He had investigated why psychotherapy works for some people and for some not. Therefore, he had evaluated thousands of sessions recorded on tape. The result was that the therapist’s method played a surprisingly small role. It was up to the patient and during the beginning of the therapy it was already possible to say which patient would be successful. These were people who turned their attention to a feeling inside their bodies. This initially unclear feeling comes into focus and changes in the body.

Gendlin called the Living Something the felt sense. Focusing was further developed by Ann Weiser Cornell [2]. Ann has a website where she provides a lot of material about Focusing.


[1] Eugene T. Gendlin, Focusing, Random House, Epub Version 1.0

[2] Ann Weiser Cornell, The Radical Acceptance of Everything, Calluna Press, First edition (April 2005)


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