Monday, September 12, 2011


Eugene Gendlin developed a set of techniques called Focusing in collaboration with Carl Rogers and others which are used for dealing with implicit knowledge, knowledge viewed in terms of preconceptual experiences stemming from the body itself as a living process. Now, I've used something like this technique for years without knowing about his work or the formal system he's built around it. I recognize it without being able to precisely describe it, which is a very Focusing thing itself.

In this month's Tricycle, he discussed the method and uses of the Focusing techniques. It is a difficult interview to get through, because it is clear that a lot of the information Gendlin conveys happens via non-verbal channels.

One useful passage, relating to embodied consciousness:

The body includes behavior possibilities. It has the sense of space in which you can do things, not just move around. The possibilities of “what we can do from here” is the space that we really live in; we don’t live in empty, abstract, geometric space.

And then on top of that, you have your thinking capacity. The thinking that you are doing varies your behavior possibilities. You might think of something and then see that you can do such and such, which you hadn’t seen before. So the thinking changes the behavior possibilities, and that in turn is reconstituting your body in various ways.

Your body takes everything you learn with you. But your body understanding is more than what you learned. It absorbs what you learn, and then it still implies further. A body isn’t only an is; it is an is and implies further.
A further explication of the body feeling concept can be found here.

No comments: