BioSpiritual Focusing (BSF) is all about the involvement of the body in the process of spiritual development and transformation. What follows here is a brief overview of the BSF process that will be supported by the supplemental pages in this section of the website that will address the process steps in more detail.
The BSF flow can be best summarized in three steps: Noticing, Being with the Felt Sense and Nurturing.
The first step in the BioSpiritual process is to shift your awareness, “to notice” what it is you are carrying within your body – your “felt-sense” of what your body is holding in this moment. Depending upon circumstances, one can sometimes access this felt-sense directly. Most times, one needs to pause and clear one’s mind of all its distractions before one can become aware of the felt-sense within.
It is no surprise, then, that the first Noticing sub-step in BioSpiritual Focusing is called “Checking In” or “Clearing a Space.” This step is the discipline is followed to set aside all issues and distractions the mind might be filled with. You cannot focus with a mind full of distractions. This Noticing step parallels contemporary meditation practices.
Once a place of spaciousness has been created, the next sub-step in Noticing is to shift one’s awareness within one’s body, especially into the torso area. As one does that, one goes within and asks the question “What in my body right now most wants my loving attention” and waits very patiently for a sensation, emotion, or feeling which may be at first murky before arising. In time, a felt-sense will begin to form. This felt-sense is a manifestation of and the means by which your inner wisdom and awareness communicates in a way that you can experience.
Next, as one becomes aware of the felt-sense, holding it with caring gentleness, one asks the question within: “Is it ok for me to be with this?” If the answer comes back “NO”, then the question ”Would it be ok to be with this at a distance?” is asked. If being at a distance is ok, then one, at a distance, rests with the felt-sense. If the answer is still NO, then one rests with the felt-sense of the saying of the “NO” and lets that expand wider.
Being with the felt-sense, the second step of the BioSpiritual Focusing flow, requires an act of self-compassion, an affectionate response. When a felt-sense is perceived, the mind is going to want to immediately jump in and analyze it. It is going to want to fix or judge whatever is there. Instead of letting the mind do this, the focuser holds whatever the felt-sense is with an attitude of loving compassion and curiosity. You figuratively say “hello” to the felt-sense and be with it in a non-judgmental and non-analytical manner. This is called a “caring-feeling presence”. Once you are aware of the felt-sense and hold it with the loving kindness of this “caring-feeling presence”, you move to the third step of BioSpiritual Focusing which is called Nurturing.
When you pause and go within, the felt-sense, this manifestation of your inner bodily wisdom, will arise. As it is held, with a caring presence, symbols, images, memories or more sensations will come into your awareness. As they come into your awareness, you approach them with a simple curiosity, letting them unfold. You nurture the felt-sense by simply being with it as it opens. This is the most challenging part of BioSpiritual Focusing because your mind will want to immediately jump in and analyze what you are sensing. The challenge is keeping your attention on how you are carrying this in your body rather than focusing on what you might think or analyze about it.
As they unfold, some images or symbols arise and may create their own momentum. This is because the felt-sense is not an idea or concept. Your felt-senses are not fixed content but actual living experiences. Metaphorically we can say that felt-senses are not nouns, they are “verbs”.
So as you begin to verbally describe the felt-sense, the words may not be accurate at first. You continue trying to find the words that, when you finally name the felt-sense, you experience from within yourself an inner resonance leading to a deeper understanding and wisdom of whatever the felt-sense is about. This experience results in a change in the way your body carries that issue. This change is called, not surprisingly, the “felt-shift.” It is not something that we control or create but rather offers “a movement of grace” in our experience.
It is important to note that the felt-shift is not an intellectual solution to a problem or issue that one is faced with. Rather, it is a change in the way you perceive and approach that problem or issue. It may offer a resolution in how you carry it in your body, not a solution.
The next step of Nurturing focuses on what has come into your awareness and asks the question “Is there more here?” and then allows any further deepening to occur. From a BioSpiritual perspective, the felt-sense is a living experience of grace, so even though you may have gleaned a wonderful insight in the present moment, it does not mean there are not deeper levels of insight and grace that might be now open to you.
So you check once again.
The last sub-step in the Nurturing BioSpiritual Focusing flow is your being grateful for the felt-sense’s arising and for the felt shift that may have been experienced. It is important to know that felt-shifts most often are small changes and not dramatic, life altering insights. This is why we talk about BioSpiritual Focusing practice as a habit, because when it becomes the way we relate to what is within us on a daily basis, we open ourselves to incrementally expanding our awareness and spiritual development on an ongoing basis.
The gift of BioSpiritual Focusing is that it enables you to engage and dialogue with what is deepest within yourself. To practice BioSpiritual Focusing is ultimately an act of courage because instead of ignoring or burying your strong feelings and emotions, you dare to be with them in an open, caring way. Pausing long enough for the felt-senses to arise is a challenge. But underneath it all is what we need for healing, hope and a vibrancy of life that is just waiting for us to open up to. And it just doesn’t get better than that!
In the pages that follow you will find more detailed information and exercises that introduce you to the practice of BioSpiritual Focusing.