Following the Flow of Life in Two Directions:
Focusing and the Implicate Order

It may be helpful to differentiate between two ways in which we can accompany the flow of life, both of which have usefulness and value. Understanding both movements and being able to shift back and forth between the two can be particularly helpful for the purpose of "Outer Relationship Focusing" - finding organic bridges between Focusing and other realms of life.

Focusing "Downstream"

The movement which has been more widely taught and practiced in focusing, is related to "how something wants to unfold'". The kinds of questions we ask when accompanying this movement include:

 "What does this 'felt sense' need?"
 "What does this 'felt sense' want to become?"
"How does this 'felt sense' want to unfold?"

I use the term "focusing downstream" to describe this movement of connecting with life-forward energy in a way that supports its unfolding or carrying forward into its expressions and manifestations.
One organic analogy would be a tree unfolding from a seed. The elements which accompany or support that unfolding, are the sun, the rain, soil, etc. In the realm of Focusing, it would be our loving attention and spacious presence.

Focusing "Upstream"

This movement has to do with using Focusing to connect with "something larger" from which the present experiences or energies have originated. This converse movement has historically been less emphasized. (This trend may be changing, especially now with the growth of TAE.)

The kinds of questions we ask when we engaging in this movement include:

"What is the essence of this experience for me?"
"What larger or broader 'something' is this particular thing an expression of?"

This may be analogous to something that TAE describes as 'instancing'- that 'this' thing (this calling, this experience, this movement) is an 'instance' of some larger movement at work in our life, in our being, in the world, in the Universe...

To return to our organic metaphor: The tree is an unfolding of the core energy pattern of the seed. While the seed only unfolds in "one direction", we as humans can trace the unfolding of the tree back to its original seed. And, there is something in us that delights in the discovery of that "source".

It is not as if we are picked up and transported 'upstream', but that we are carried along by something inside of us that has a curiosity and a longing to discover our Source. From this connection with Source, we can more effectively co-create with the Life Force.

Articulating and differentiating this process within the practice of focusing can help us become more aware of it and utilize it more consciously.

1. "Actions grounded in connectedness.":

Focusing in 'both' directions enables us to more fully connect with and follow Life-forward movement both TO its source, and FROM its source into and through us.

We connect with something deeper and larger than ourselves that moves through and within us, and cooperate with it as it moves into expressions and actions that have their own implicit rightness.

2. Applying the gifts of our callings to other areas of our lives.

When we connect with the essence of something that calls to us, we discover ways in which that essence can express itself in other areas of our lives as well. (more on this at Listening to Our Callings

3.Facilitating synergy ('crossings') between different areas of endeavor:

Another application of using both modes of focusing involves finding the essence of two discrete areas or practices in order to discover an organic bridge between them. The analogy is to follow two branches back to the tree trunk, to see where they connect - working with the living bridge between them that already exists, instead of trying to construct something in the air to span between one branch and another. A longer description of this process is forthcoming.

Created on ... March 29, 2004