The following is an outline I recommend for people looking for direction on their path, particularly people who are disenchanted with religion and spirituality, healing the past, and seeking a deeper relationship with themselves and life in general.
First of all, you can learn the skills you need without spending a dime by simply learning The Focusing Method and Critical Thinking online for FREE.
If you would like to purchase a book I recommend “The Power of Focusing: A Practical Guide to Emotional Self-Healing” by Ann Weiser
If you do NOTHING else but learn focusing you will learn how to craft your life from any situation, anywhere, anytime. The center is always where YOU are and your body NEVER LIES. It is always the guide for you. Learning how to trust this process is the KEY
— FURTHER GUIDANCE —
READ “unSpirital: A Spiritual Journey” Healing and humor weave a tale of the life of a modern spiritual seeker through riveting intensity and synchronicity, sprinkled with 19 priceless Keys of Insight and secrets into activating and navigating the kundalini experience or “human metamorphosis”. It is a harrowing narrative for any story lover, spiritual seeker, researcher, or survivor of childhood trauma coping with PTSD (post-traumatic-stress-disorder).
READ unSpirituality: Permission to be Human: A bold treatise that redefines spirituality without religion, exposing the New Age story and Spiritual Bypassing. It points to childhood suppression and indoctrination as the source of religious and spiritual delusion. Zzenn asserts that spiritual ideologies become the arena for the retrieval of a shamed imagination. This book presents the human being untethered from the spiritual story and celebrates our natural wisdom.
Step 1 – Start Over: Become a Perpetual Student: Your thinking is what got you to your current position in life. If you want change you must access the situation and rebuild.
Read or Listen to the Audible: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
I can’t emphasis enough how important it is become a perpetual student and get inspired to Un-Learn and Re-Learn everything that does not stand up to the facts of reality. Engage the process of testing what is true or false in your belief system. Rebuild your reality one block at a time by committing to a regular routine of study.
“If you want real change you’ll need to take real action. Develop a willingness to be wrong about . . . EVERYTHING”
- On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You’re Not
- Mistakes Were Made
- The Storytelling Animal
- A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves
- The Believing Brain
- Faith: Pretending to know things you don’t know
Step 2 – Explore Neuroscience and/or Non-Dualism: I recommend bringing into your life the teachings of non-dualism and brain science. Whether you read passively or are drawn to an in depth study, this knowledge will change your life.
- The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity
- Supersense: from superstition to religion – the brain science of belief
- Spiritual Enlightenment, the Damnedest Thing
- The Final Truth: A Guide to Ultimate Understanding
- Confusion No More: For the Spiritual Seeker
- Ask the Awakened: The Negative Way
Step 3 – Learn Critical Thinking (Create a Sharp Mind): For some, the words “critical thinking” may sound too technical and even conjure images of scientist processing information without intuition or feeling. Consider that everything you do in life comes out of your perceptions of life. What you eat, where you work, who you spend time with, what you wear, how you do your hair, what you talk about, what you read and what you listen to ALL depend on your perceptions which is a product of your thinking skills.
I’m sure you are aware that unconscious decisions and beliefs effect your entire life. This is what I call the sand underneath your house. The unconscious thinking process, much in the form of beliefs, trigger feelings that guide you through your life. It is vitally important to understand what your mind actually is and how it works from a current neurological perspective rather than an outdated religious/spiritual perspective. For those of us who have leaned on religion and spirituality, we must step into the “now” of our current knowledge and take advantage of our species hard earned collective sciences.
Critical Thinking is probably the MOST important skill to learn for “inner” exploration and healing.
Read or Listen to the Audible: Your Deceptive Mind: A Scientific Guide to Critical Thinking Skills
My advise is to listen to this course all the way through passively and then listen to chapter 1 over and over until it comfortably sinks in then follow each chapter in that order. You may want to write notes as you go. I listen while working and jot down notes on my phone. This audio-book I found to be the most informative and comprehensive but there are other choices on audible you can sample to your liking.
I recommend the following books on Critical Thinking.
- How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass
- An Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments
- How We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language
- Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole
The goal is to achieve a whole new way of perceiving your reality by breaking down self destructive or “defeating” thought patterns and building a solid “inner” foundation. This Step will undoubtedly change your entire life. Take your time and master the craft.
Step 4 – Learn The Focusing Method (Create an Open Heart): If critical thinking is the swimming lessons for the mind then Focusing is the swimming lessons for the body. But I don’t want to create a perception of separation between body and mind. Critical Thinking and Focusing are skills that apply to the whole human organism.
Focusing opens up a vast world of possibilities and provides the skill of self healing and guidance for a lifetime. It brings together meditation and other spiritual practices into one simple system.
Your body knows more about situations than you are explicitly aware of. For example, your body picks up more about another person than you consciously know. With a little training, you can get a bodily feel for the ‘more’ that is happening in any situation. From that bodily feel come small steps that lead toward resolution.
Read or Listen to the Audible: Focusing by Eugene Gendlin
My advise is to listen to this book all the way through passively and then listen to chapter 1 over and over until it comfortably sinks in then follow each chapter in that order. You may want to write notes as you go. I listen while working and jot down notes on my phone. This audio-book I found to be the most informative and comprehensive but there are other choices on audible you can sample to your liking.
These are the books I recommend for Focusing.
- The Power of Focusing: A Practical Guide to Emotional Self-Healing
- The Radical Acceptance of Everything: Living a Focusing Life
Find a Focusing Therapist HERE
Focusing Fact Sheet for Newcomers – This page is full of information on Focusing for beginners. You’ll find audio, DVD’s and Workshops on the site as well.
Check out their YouTube channel – The International Focusing Institute. I recommend immursing yourself in the many videos available.
I highly recommend getting a one on one session either online or in person in your learning process to enhance your understanding. You don’t need to do this but it can be very useful. I picked it up very fast on my own and meeting with a focusing therapist just accelerated my learning. You can do Focusing alone and with a partner.
Example of a Short Focusing Session
The Basics of Focusing – The 6 Steps [source]
What follows is a lightly edited excerpt from The Focusing Manual, chapter four of Focusing.
The inner act of focusing can be broken down into six main sub-acts or movements. As you gain more practice, you won’t need to think of these as six separate parts of the process. To think of them as separate movements makes the process seem more mechanical than it is – or will be, for you, later. I have subdivided the process in this way because I’ve learned from years of experimenting that this is one of the effective ways to teach focusing to people who have never tried it before.
Think of this as only the basics. As you progress and learn more about focusing you will add to these basic instructions, clarify them, approach them from other angles. Eventually – perhaps not the first time you go through it – you will have the experience of something shifting inside.
So here are the focusing instructions in brief form, manual style. If you want to try them out, do so easily, gently. If you find difficulty in one step or another, don’t push too hard, just move on to the next one. You can always come back.
Clearing a space
What I will ask you to do will be silent, just to yourself. Take a moment just to relax . . . All right – now, inside you, I would like you to pay attention inwardly, in your body, perhaps in your stomach or chest. Now see what comes there when you ask, “How is my life going? What is the main thing for me right now?” Sense within your body. Let the answers come slowly from this sensing. When some concern comes, DO NOT GO INSIDE IT. Stand back, say “Yes, that’s there. I can feel that, there.” Let there be a little space between you and that. Then ask what else you feel. Wait again, and sense. Usually there are several things.
From among what came, select one personal problem to focus on. DO NOT GO INSIDE IT. Stand back from it. Of course, there are many parts to that one thing you are thinking about – too many to think of each one alone. But you can feel all of these things together. Pay attention there where you usually feel things, and in there you can get a sense of what all of the problem feels like. Let yourself feel the unclear sense of all of that.
What is the quality of this unclear felt sense? Let a word, a phrase, or an image come up from the felt sense itself. It might be a quality-word, like tight, sticky, scary, stuck, heavy, jumpy or a phrase, or an image. Stay with the quality of the felt sense till something fits it just right.
Go back and forth between the felt sense and the word (phrase, or image). Check how they resonate with each other. See if there is a little bodily signal that lets you know there is a fit. To do it, you have to have the felt sense there again, as well as the word. Let the felt sense change, if it does, and also the word or picture, until they feel just right in capturing the quality of the felt sense.
Now ask: what is it, about this whole problem, that makes this quality (which you have just named or pictured)? Make sure the quality is sensed again, freshly, vividly (not just remembered from before). When it is here again, tap it, touch it, be with it, asking, “What makes the whole problem so ______?” Or you ask, “What is in this sense?”
If you get a quick answer without a shift in the felt sense, just let that kind of answer go by. Return your attention to your body and freshly find the felt sense again. Then ask it again.
Be with the felt sense till something comes along with a shift, a slight “give” or release.
Receive whatever comes with a shift in a friendly way. Stay with it a while, even if it is only a slight release. Whatever comes, this is only one shift; there will be others. You will probably continue after a little while, but stay here for a few moments.
IF DURING THESE INSTRUCTIONS SOMEWHERE YOU HAVE SPENT A LITTLE WHILE SENSING AND TOUCHING AN UNCLEAR HOLISTIC BODY SENSE OF THIS PROBLEM, THEN YOU HAVE FOCUSED. It doesn’t matter whether the body-shift came or not. It comes on its own. We don’t control that.