Focusing Tip No. 118
The Presence of Awareness
When you are Focusing, it helps to develop your capacity for awareness. This deepens and enriches your Focusing and brings lasting change into your life
How can you invite your awareness to be more fully present?
You can start by very simply noticing what you are already aware of, such as the contact of your body with what you are sitting on, or your breathing, or any sounds that you can hear. I find it helpful to notice the impact that the environment has on me.
With my eyes closed, I can sense how it feels to be in a particular place, with its sounds, or quietness. I notice my breathing deepens as I settle into being in the space I am in.
If I am disturbed by sounds outside, I find it helpful to give attention to it and then I can settle with it being there, rather than resisting it.
So what is awareness?
It is the open, spacious context for all the content of your experiencing. It is hard to define, except perhaps to notice what qualities it has.
For instance, ‘open and spacious’ means there is no particular agenda, and it is not pushing for a particular outcome or goal. There is room for something fresh and new to come, without making anything happen.
It happens all on its own.
When you are Focusing from a place of aware Presence, you are willing for something to be there just as it is, for as long as it needs to be. In doing that, paradoxically, you create the conditions where change is possible, and what comes is fresh, new and often surprising.
If you are aware at the level of the mind, you experience a clear, open, spacious quality.
There is no particular agenda. There is an attitude of acceptance and equanimity. The Buddhists call it ‘the sky-like nature of mind’. It is vast, open and free. Any difficulties may be experienced as clouds, passing by.
If you are aware at the level of the heart, this is the relational space.
You feel genuine love, compassion and empathy. You can meet any difficulty with gentleness and kindness. You can be friendly, interested, curious, wanting to know more. You can sit beside hurting parts of you, and you can engage with them in a gentle and friendly way. Crucially, hurting or wounded places need an interaction with you that embodies these qualities. In this way, whatever needs were unmet in the past can be met now, and carried forward in this loving and supportive environment.
Awareness at the heart level is also the level of perception.
Use your inner senses to help you to find metaphors and images to symbolise your experience. This enriches and deepens your Focusing, especially when you resonate and check the image with your bodily-felt experience.
Awareness at the level of the lower belly connects you to a deeper layer, to the ground of your being.
It’s like your deep roots that go down into the earth. It connects you to the earth and all beings. It is vast and unknowable. I find it deeply reassuring to find this connection, and to know that I am never alone. There is always this fundamental connection.
It also gives you a place to stand, in your own truth and inner knowing.
It’s like standing on your own two feet. As well as the connection to all beings, you have your individual place to stand, that is uniquely yours.
If you get lost in your Focusing, or caught up in your difficulties, you can return to your awareness, which is always present.
You can find your awareness in your mind, in your heart or in your belly. You can look for it where it is most accessible, in external sensory awareness, or internal awareness. And then return to your difficulties from a place of aware presence.