The Felt Sense is the first in a series of articles devoted to energy work that can be done by the reader. Practicing these techniques on a regular basis leads to increased health and a greater awareness of the flow and impact of energy around you. It will boost any psychic talent you have by removing step by step, issue by issue whatever is blocking your talent from manifesting.

Developed by Eugene T. Gendlin who described the method in his book Focus Oriented Psychotherapy – A Manual of the Experiential Method. Peter A. Levine referenced The Felt Sense in his book Waking The Tiger – Healing Trauma (and as the focus of his following book Healing Trauma).

When teaching The Felt Sense, I have the students look at random pictures and have them notice the richness of sensation within the body as a response. You can do this too, pick up a magazine and flip through the pages, don’t linger on any page so you don’t draw your mind into commenting or interpreting or criticizing, this is a body oriented technique.

To use the Felt Sense as a means to clear out issues (tightness, pains, memories) in the body, one method is to focus on one stressor, wait until you become aware of the body’s Felt Sense response (immediate after some practice), then ignore the stressor and stay with just the Felt Sense experience.

Staying with the selected stressor entangles you in beliefs, opinions, “he said – she said”, and hurts of all sorts. Focusing on the Felt Sense attends to how your body holds the impact of that stressor.

The only thing you need to do is “Pay Attention”.

The process is unpleasant, occasionally worse, the reward is peace, if or when the same stressor occurs again your body will not sabotage you by reporting pain or weakness, rigidity or old hurts, emotional or otherwise. From a psychic viewpoint you will be able to feel clearly what you pick up from another without it being smothered, distorted or blocked by your own issues in that same body part.

 It takes time to release the discomfort, practice does speed it up a little, what makes the difference is the amount of attention given. Starting out it may be wiser to “test the water” over and over, each time allowing yourself to feel the pain until it goes away on its own. Each little step drains the lake a little until it all has gone. Sometimes it can take hours.

Often while noticing the Felt Sense at one location in the body, another location reveals itself as having its own issues. Pay attention to this new location, as the first site will not release until the issues of the next one have been dealt with. It’s like a child saying he’s worried about the monster in the closet, but there’s another monster under the bed that’s closer. He can’t face the further monster until the worse one is dealt with. The new location may in turn refer to a newer location, the most nested or sequential I have dealt with is six deep. If you lose track, recall the first initial stressor which gets the first Felt Sense location, this will reproduce the next etc.

To help speed up the process, notice the effect of your breathing on the Felt Sense location. It leads you in knowing and feeling a little release of the affected tissues, expanding and returning a little with each breath.

Also, if any thoughts come up, notice them and let them go, they can be like labels, useful if it enhances the awareness but this is a body response, and to that we must return to make progress.

Continue to “Pay Attention”.

Releasing an issue often leads to a muscle releasing, one that may have been held tight for many years. Your body may move into a more comfortable position, joints clicking may occur as they now become able to move more freely.

Sometimes there is a relaxing, but not a complete release, in which case there are more issues of similar quality, all feeding off the same “lake”. Going back to the initial stressor, you can think of a similar stressor, find the Felt Sense for this, usually close to the first one, and repeat the process. An example is “Running Away” which can occur in the calf, as children we had many reasons to want to run away, in this case I stayed for 15 instances, each one took a couple of minutes, all of a similar quality, stopping when my ankle started clicking from enough strands of muscle relaxing to free up the joint.

Most of the Felt Sense issues I have dealt with have resulted from childhood fears and wants and doubts etc. Not all of them have given flashes of insight as to actual events that can cause an upset, probably because I was too young to be able to think and understand.

From a Massage Therapist viewpoint, some muscles will not relax. No matter how many techniques are used, that muscle may soften then return to its usual hardness within minutes. These muscles are on permanent alert, activated by the lizard brain within us. Using the Felt Sense on these muscles will release them. That fear center or lizard brain needs time to experience the intensity of the Felt Sense but in a safe environment, eventually it will be willing to ease up, at which time the muscle will soften a little and when nothing bad happens it will ease up a little more and soon ease up completely, with more muscle relaxation and lengthening.

 If you choose the work on a muscle and do not know its stressor, just pay attention to the muscle, and one or more stressors will pop up, along with their accompanying Felt Sense, which may give a small constellation of areas and sensations to deal with, pick any one and notice if another becomes prominent, as that will be the one to work first.

I strongly recommend working on issues involving limbs first, as these are much less intense than core body issues. The Heart is the most intense to work. Paying attention to the Felt Sense around the heart means noticing and encouraging those sensations, that tightening, which means your heart is getting squeezed and it lets you know by increasing the pulse rate, stress hormones get pumped into you, your heart is working harder, and you can’t stop paying attention, feeling the felt sense ‘tightness’ while your heart struggles. Afterwards, when one or more tissues relaxes around the heart this results in a change in the mobility of the heart, a wobbling, which is also very scary, and lasts until the person gets used to and ignores the new movement, when nothing bad has happened. There’s more, any tight tissue can lock in emotions, once unlocked they rise to consciousness, and the heart tends to have many emotions, many experiences that were deeply felt and deeply buried, emotionally and physically you’re in for a wild ride. Other tissues the effect is not as noticeable, and can be much more easily dealt with.

 Sometimes, with nested Felt Sense locations, they all act at the same time and with your attention on them, they all seem worse than before and now acting together, it’s frightening. It lasts a couple of minutes then they all relax at the same time. Instead of spreading the whole process over an hour it’s done in two minutes. If a core body part is involved that makes it even more terrifying. Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but you need to know.

How the body “maps” to the stimulus may be personal, and / or to Emotional “wiring” and / or to Astrological conventions or to other systems. You’ll have to figure that out for yourself.

Some Felt Sense points discovered since the original development:

If it’s going too slow, or there’s not much progress, try physically moving the area you’re paying attention to, then return to the process. There’s a different type of stretch to the usual, brief one, that’s a fascial stretch. Stretch the body part until you feel restriction, then wait. And wait. Two minutes will be enough, usually takes 40 seconds or so for tissues without stress, you’ll feel the body “allowing” you to increase the stretch. Do so, to the next restriction. This will release the connective tissues, leading physically to increased blood flow, improved lymphatic drainage, improved healing. At the Felt Sense level you’re still paying attention, waiting for feedback on when to stretch a little more, respectful of the body.

If the Felt Sense loops back to the original site or to a site earlier in the nested sequence, you’re likely to get spasms or jolts, quick movements. In this case allow the motion, don’t suppress it. The trapped energy may need to align itself out through the route it entered when you were contorted e.g. during a motor vehicle accident. More likely is that there’s some mind issue present, so in this case you have to pay attention to the thoughts related to this stress. The loop may then be broken and the process resolves as usual.

The ‘space’ you create by releasing the stress or stuckness tends to get swallowed up by adjacent similar stresses. Skimming over the same area at a later time you won’t notice “sweet” spots. No harm is done, it doesn’t increase the intensity of the neighboring stress response, but something nice to do is to send loving thoughts and feelings to the area that recently contained trauma. The body, like Nature, abhors a vacuum, so plant some flowers to yourself in that place.

Paul Rice

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