Towards a Diversity of Life-Forward Processes

Bruce Nayowith MD


Areas in RED are optional, extra story line. Can be read or skipped over.

Areas in BLUE are exercises designed for the workshop then

Areas in GREEN are additional comments about TAE and NVC that can be read or skipped

P 1-2 Introduction and Objectives

P 3-6 Story of how this spectrum unfolded for me

P 7    The Spectrum of Life – Forward Processes summarized

P 8    Disembodied Intuition

P 10 Felt Recognition

P 16 Felt sensing

P 18 Conceptual Models

P 19 Neurobiological and Development Theory that supports this

P 23 Diagram of factors that affect signal recognition -  RELEVATION

P 26  Characteristics of Different “realities” - from Dr LeShan’s studies of mediums and psychics

P 27 Exercises






The theme of this article is about welcoming  welcoming more of life-forward information and energies into our lives.


It arises out of an engagement with questions such as:


“What is Focusing’s place in the universe? How does it relate to other ways of knowing that do not involve felt sensing?”


Focusing itself opens us to a richness beyond what we could connect with by just using ideas, logic, thinking – a felt connection with Life-forward movement.


Yet there are other ways that also connect us to what is beyond concepts, without necessarily felt sensing.


What about information that comes in dreams, or that pops into our minds during prayer, or “out of nowhere”?

There are people who “channel” information? How does this fit in with what we know about Focusing?


This article suggests that there are different realms of knowing and connecting with information which can support and inter-affect each other:


-Bodily-felt knowing

-Imaginal/disembodied knowing


And, as we build bridges between practices and processes, how can we work with these in a way that is compatible with Focusing AND also honor each of the others, as well?





1) To honor and welcome additional life-forward energies into the realm of experiencing and awareness:

      - distinguishing alpha (bodily) and theta (disembodied) intuition, with suggestions for integrating both

      - to make a distinction between Focusing and Felt Recognition

       -to be more aware of some distinctive qualities of felt recognition and disembodied intuition,



2 ) To create bridges and synergies between Focusing and other intuitive practices - increase mutual respect between practices, and apply these understandings to various processes including: prayer, Focusing, TAE, and community-building.




3) To introduce some neurobiology that supports all of this.










How these distinctions arose for me

(descriptions of a few instances that led to the insights in this paper. )


I.                    Gene Gendlin at TAE             

 “ a spectrum of connecting with ways of knowing”


A.      At one point during a TAE workshop, Gene Gendlin was sharing some of his own work-in-process to illustrate some of the steps of TAE.


His content included something like this:

“There seem to be several different ways, or levels, of connecting with knowing.

a)      First, there is ‘I don’t know what it might be, but there has got to be something more than this’.

b)      Then there is something else, like ‘I don’t know what it is, but I would know it if I encountered it’.

c)      Then there is having a felt sense of something   ‘I have a felt sense of it, and can be with it and it can unfold and tell me what it is about’.

d)      And there is the knowing and speaking about it - ‘I know it in my mind, and can say it.’


Ah ,yes. There is much information that comes to me that is NOT coming from felt-sensing. Yes, these other ways of knowing have real value.


These 4 statements of his seemed to fall into a spectrum of knowing. 

It seemed as though three of these had a different degree of embodiment – from none at all, to a bit, to full bodied. . .  


B.      That same night, I was awakened at 2 am by a compelling feeling and insight about the second of these, and its special importance and value.  This did not come as a felt sense – it came as a ‘zip file’ unzipping in my mind, a disembodied intuition!



II.                  Health Intuition workshop with Karen Kassy   

   (very quick, very fascinating, very different from Focusing)   


I was very surprised and impressed with my experiences at Karen’s Health Intuition workshop. I expected it to be more like the felt intuiting of Focusing.  And it wasn’t.

Contrasting them, Focusing tends to go something like this:

-A centering/preparation by ‘coming into the body.’

-A mild trance/relaxed state from this attention, yet the mind is kept present and interactive

-Staying open to ‘what comes’ in the body,


-The sense impressions are usually in a FELT form, though there may be accompanying images and words.

-In Focusing, insight/knowing/intuition comes SLOWLY – it unfolds, often in steps or stages. It often begins with a very fuzzy sense, a sense of something vaguely known, almost known, on the tip of your tongue – that may slowly become clear.

-Accompanying this unfolding knowing is a PHYSICAL feeling of release, and a sense of a grounded knowing, a sense that “This is REALLY true.” Whether or not it IS accurate, it FEELS very accurate.

-This process of the unfolding and shifting and receiving the bodily felt knowing itself is associated with physical change, and possible healing. Even if no further action is taken, one feels differently and carries the problem or issue differently in the body after the encounter and the ‘being with’ the unfolding energetic felt sense in the body.

. . . . .                            …..

The Health Intuition process ( ) went more like this


-Giving PERMISSION, that, yes, it is possible to connect intuitively and receive information

-An invocation/preparation/centering

-Mild ‘trance’

-Being open to something


Those WERE similar to Focusing, but then, everything was SO different:

- Information came QUICKLY – all at once!

- It could come in any modality -  in a visual form, verbal, felt, just knowing.

- The linear mind was encouraged to act as an ‘energy journalist’ during the process, taking notes as an observer, not interacting nor resonating back and forth with the intuitively received information.


Participants received specific details about things that there was no way to ‘sense into’ from the ‘bodily felt’ intuition style that I have been accustomed to.

The information seemed to come from ‘outside of’ the body and mind.  “Out of somewhere else”, rather than feeling as it was coming from inside of the body.

This information often would come without any accompanying body sense of rightness. (Karen said that she often would have a feeling of “I make this stuff up real good, don’t I?!” upon receiving information in this way. But then, when she would check it out, it was often quite accurate. She has been verified at about 85% accurate for doing two page phone readings of people’s health, given only name and birthdate.)


- The ‘receiving’ of the intuitive insight itself was not usually accompanied by any physical changes or release in the body. ACTING on the intuitive insights was needed for growth to occur. 


[I personally had some mild success with this process, and it IS very different from Focusing.]


Trying to make sense out of this, I remembered Gene’s four ways of knowing, and began to consider that Karen was working on perhaps a completely different “frequency” than the felt-sensing of Focusing?



III.  Suzanne Noel’s writings on Recovery Focusing

Many times, in describing her work in Recovery Focusing on the Focusing-discuss list, Suzanne  would describe how participants might not have felt senses, but might have images, and more.  Suzanne found that, when she would welcome these, that these helped carry the participants life-forward into healing and orient them towards recovery.

I felt that she was on to something, and that her opening the process to more than felt sensing was of added value.  Maybe, when we open and pause, we open to more frequencies than just what we thought we were going to receive . . .


IV.  Focusing Certification Weeklong  at Stony Point

One participant shared a profound precognitive dream during a dream workshop.

Another described Remote Viewing skills to me that existed before they learned Focusing.


From all of these, I began to realize HOW MUCH non-felt guidance is sometimes accessed. And, how there are no real maps for this in Focusing, so these ways of information remain very underappreciated and underutilized as sources of guidance in the Focusing community.







Awareness and Appreciation Practice With Respect To Conceptual Maps


This article presents a “map” of different bands of knowing, of connecting with life-forward information.

Let’s remember that all maps are arbitrary. Reality is MUCH bigger than any model or map or idea.


Still, some maps are more HELPFUL than others. They can help us relate to, and connect to, reality in helpful ways.

They are a two-edged sword. Even good maps can keep people in their heads and away from direct contact with something very alive and powerful

On the other hand, Stan Grof teaches that intellectual resistance can be just as limiting to being open and growing as is emotional resistance.


Support helps us navigate in the face of emotional resistance.

Good conceptual maps help address the mental resistance to connecting with these realms, by showing a way that they make sense, that they have a kind of reality.



“We often feel vulnerable when we lack the strength to back up our intuitive judgments about situations, people, actions…”                              Rabbi Min Kantrowicz    “Counting the Omer”


Please take anything (everything!) here, and check it out inside for yourselves .

-Resonate with it

-See what fits for you

-See what comes

-And see where it takes you.


[This page offers an Instance of Itself. - one way to integrate new material for yourself is to remember to check in with your felt sense of what is right for you when you are about to be exposed to something new.]--------------------------  










Often the “intuition” is used as if all non-linear knowing is the same thing, akin to how “rheumatism” used to mean achey joints, treated as if it were all one thing.

We now distinguish many forms of arthritis – each with different treatments

Perhaps this way of differentiating somewhat distinct bands of life-forward energy and information within the larger term “intuition” will offer something of value, as well:


I.        Disembodied Intuition   

(Pausing and Opening to “something”, with no sense of what that may be)

(opening to something, with no sense of what)

-opening prayer                       -vision quests

-psychic information              -various intuitives

- creative insights that emerge into awareness    -insights during meditation


III.                Felt Recognition

(sense of warmer, cooler)

“I don’t know what it is, but I would know it if I encountered it”


IV.                Full Felt Sense “I have a felt sense of something that is more than I know in my head.”


V.                  Conceptual Knowing  

( working with ideas and linear information)

 -Working with facts and others’ feedback

              - Conscious application of a cognitive model or process (Using  theories and operating systems about reality to direct one’s attention and actions.)


[[There are other colors on the spectrum that don’t fit so neatly here, and which I do not address here:


-Conscious application of a non-cognitive model or process   Application of something to shift out of ordinary awareness and habits of attending (trance dance, drugs, drumming)..

-Shamanic work

-Dreams ]]




(PAUSING AND OPENING TO “SOMETHING” without having ANY sense of what that might be)          


This is often done in faith “I don’t know in me, but I believe that there is an answer in the Universe” 


Sometimes it is with more exasperation than faith: “There has GOT TO be a better way than THIS!’)


Often this takes the form of a prayer of desperation, of turning it over and surrendering “I give up, I can’t do this!”

“ I don’t know what to do or see any way out of this…”


In each of these, there are some movements in common:


-We Pause,

- We Cease (at least for a bit) Habitual Patterns of thinking and acting

-We Open to possibilities unknown, unfelt… something more to happen.



This process is common to many forms of meditation – being open, “beginner’s mind”, not-knowing”


It is also the core movement in many forms of Jewish and Christian prayer – opening to God/Spirit:


The first two steps of 12-step programs are based on this


The Qu’ran was received by the Prophet Mohammed in this way while meditating in a cave – as a voice calling to him and speaking to him, telling him to recite. Qu’ran means “recitation”.


A Course in Miracles was received by Helen Schucman, as a voice saying “This is a course in miracles. Please take dictation.”

The core practice in A Course In Miracles involves recognizing that something is not working (“I could see Peace, instead of this”, or “There is another way to look at this”) then pausing, accepting that one does not know, and opening to receive the ‘miracle’ of true perception, another way of relating to the situation




This process can be more intentionally directed, as well:


-Many creative processes in art, music, writing, etc    involve pausing the habitual patterns of working or thinking or feeling (taking a break, doing something different, etc) , and opening and allowing something new to come.


-Psychic and intuitives often seem to be operating on this level. Edgar Cayce and Karen Kassy’s work of setting an intention, and then opening to something in order to get valuable information


Exercises 1 and 2 Please see appendix



“I am in touch with what has it, even though I may not be able to get a felt sense of it directly. And, I WILL KNOW IT WHEN I ENCOUNTER IT.”  


Because this distinction is perhaps the newest for most of us, I wish to spend more time on this one than on any of the others:


In felt recognition, unlike disembodied intuition, there is some body referent. There is SOME sense of what this might be, or what resonates with it.


Here, rather than it unfolding into some understanding if it is listened to, as a felt sense often does, this functions more as a warmer-cooler type of signal, as an orienting process. It helps point one towards or away from something.


It doesn’t tell you WHAT the something is that you seek, but does lets you know THAT there is a something that is to be sought for.


A favorite illustration of this in verse is Tony’s song before the dance.  I encourage you to take a break and listen to it, and get a sense of its vibrancy and beauty – and importance in our lives:

(there are MP3 links, but I can’t assure their safety from viruses, so this one is on You Tube)


                                                    “Something’s Coming

from West Side Story  by Sondheim and Bernstein



Could be!            
Who knows?
There's something due any day;
I will know right away, Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye, Bright as a rose!

Who knows?
It's only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
I got a feeling there's a miracle due,    
Gonna come true, Coming to me!

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something's coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something's coming, I don't know what it is,
But it is      Gonna be great!

With a click, with a shock,
Phone'll jingle, door'll knock,
Open the latch!
Something's coming, don't know when, but it's soon;
Catch the moon, One-handed catch!

Around the corner,
Or whistling down the river,
Come on, deliver To me!
Will it be? Yes, it will.
Maybe just by holding still,
It'll be there!

Come on, something, come on in, don't be shy,
Meet a guy, Pull up a chair!
The air is humming,
And something great is coming!
Who knows?
It's only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Maybe tonight . .


-----------------                              ---------------------------------------

Other examples of this include:


A building inspector, who goes around looking for “something”.. He may simply feel that something is off, and then goes checking until finds something, what that is.

There are movies where protagonists travel on a journey, searching for ‘something’.  The “something” guides the journey, and there is a recognition of steps along the way, or of the journey’s end. The feeling of drawing towards something acts as a guidance. It operates as a compass, not as a felt sense with meaning in itself that unfolds.


Another media example is “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

In it, several characters that hear a series of tones, a song, which then draws or guides them towards something. The music sets up a felt recognition. The music pulls them towards something, but it does NOT contain the information of what they seek within the tone itself, nor within their own internal felt calling to follow it.



Appreciating Felt Recognition;

While I have not studied this extensively, what follows are a few ideas and intuits which I will share in the hope that they will stimulate further and more accurate articulation


A)     For those not aware of felt recognition, it is helpful to name it. This is part of the helpful function of maps and concepts.


B)     For those aware of Focusing and felt sensing, it is helpful to distinguish it as a distinct band on the spectrum of life-forward energy and information, rather than minimizing it or expecting it to unfold like a full felt sense. Just this already allows us to pause the habitual, and open in ways that may more fully optimize its unfolding into guidance and embodiment.


        C) Felt recognition may be related to a very early stage of embodiment – carrying more inertial momentum than a purely disembodied insight or message.  Perhaps some energy and information from another level of being is starting to touch or guide the movement of embodiment IN THE BODY (not just “popping into one’s head” as in disembodied intuition). At this point, it lacks sufficient amplitude or momentum to allow a full felt sense to occur, but it does have enough to allow some stirring and physically felt guidance.


 Wondering where these “less embodied senses” might be most active in our lives:

       a) Perhaps with things that we have less direct experience with in the world.

       b) Perhaps with things farther away from us in time and space

       c) Most importantly, I believe that felt recognition often is the mode of communication around very tender and/or barely embodied longings and callings, such as our life/soul purpose and sublime visions of what/how we wish to manifest in the world (for the many of us not who do not yet have that fully clear within us).


IF this is the case, that “callings” often relate within us on the frequency of felt-recognition, then the more fully and powerfully we can operate at this level, the more helpful this could be for helping people manifest and embody what they feel that they are born to do, what their most precious, barely whispered, dreams might be.

It seems fair to say, then, that this capacity would be quite important and valuable for those wanting to do, and those wanting to help others do, “soul work”, offer spiritual direction, and more . . .



Working with Felt Recognition:

As you read, you will notice that we already do this, intuitively and naturally. Still, it may be of some value to be aware of this intentionally and more fully, as well:


Since felt resonance is a towards/away-from type of orienting, it may be more effective to

 -  find ways to seek what it references.

  - then to bring those things into relationship with the felt recognition,

rather than asking IT to allow a handle to form (as one would ask a felt sense in Focusing), or trying to logically figure it out.


- To help it amplify its signal and energies, and allow it to take more form in this world , we can use the Focusing move of resonation, in at least two directions:


1)      Seek outside of the felt recognition for things that resonate to it, towards EXPERIENCES or IDEAS which are then allowed to operate as reflections. 


Examples include:

-theories and concepts

-movies, poetry, books

-exposure to things and people in the environment. Road trip – the journey. . .

-guesses and experiments

-ORACLES such as Tarot, I Ching or from intutives, can provide information that offers support for one’s own felt recognition


All of the time, it is helpful to remain aware of the cooler-warmer quality of the felt recognition signal,  using it for GUIDANCE and CHECKING.


Here is where our Focusing sensibilities are so valuable. For in working with felt recognition, as in Focusing, we do NOT tell the felt recognition what it is or supposed to do. Instead, we bring something to it, without getting too close or too overpowering, and see how it responds, what happens to it as it comes close to the energies of the reflection within a safe container.


I want to connect this idea of felt recognition to the value of guessing feelings and needs in NVC.


While guessing feelings and needs can be annoying to those experienced in Focusing (“why ask questions, why not just give me space and reflect?”), I am seeing how this – IF lightly held, is a way of activating felt recognition.


A person may feel something, and not be able to articulate it well on their own. Or they may be in a situation where they cannot felt sense well. But, once they hear something, then they might recognize more fully what they were wanting!

From this perspective, Marshall Rosenberg was wise in suggesting guessing of feelings and needs of people in certain situations – this kind of “external reflecting” may  help them find what is true for themselves via felt recognition.]



2)      One can also amplify and expand felt recognition by seeking backwards and inwardly, through one’s experience, for what resonates with the felt recognition.


One can reflect back into their experience, and COLLECT INSTANCES of things that seemed to have something to do with that feeling or theme.


Seeking instances is a way of tracking the movement of the process in one’s life over time, as it has already shown up in one’s experience. Each of the instances connects with SOME aspect of what it trying to unfold, and putting several together may help create a more full view.


This process can be seen as taking something relevant that you once found (a tusk), something that seemed important. And then there was something different (a tail) that you encountered a year later, and then a leg two years after that. . .  By bringing these pieces together that all pointed to something, an elephant begins to take shape more and more clearly….


Thinking At the Edge, Steps 6-9 do exactly this – seeking instances that somehow relate to the larger, not yet known thing, that you are trying to think into. The inspiration for this came FROM TAE steps 6-9, and occurred DURING a TAE workshop – as an intuit at 2 am in the chapel at Stony Point!

For a bit more about how this connects with TAE:

TAE starts with Steps 1-5, getting a felt sense of something that you are trying to create. But, what if what if you want to create is not so clear that it forms a felt sense? What if it is something that you want to create in the world but can’t quite get something to gel?

 It seemed to me that, instead, one can start with Steps 6-9, collecting instances that relate to the theme..


When I presented that insight to Nada Lou, she told me that, when she went to write the TAE manual, SHE began with collecting instances, by doing what would now be considered Steps 6-9 when she designed the manual. She later went to lay out the steps in the current order as her understanding clarified.  This was a new undertaking, and she didn’t yet have enough direct bodily felt knowing to felt sense her way through it. So she laid out facets that pointed to it, this amplified her understanding over the years of instances, and her understanding gelled into the TAE manual!

The way I see it has been briefly (and rather poorly- sorry) described at



A)      One identifies several things in one’s life that feels like it connects to the feeling/calling/felt recognition, that seem as if they, somehow, might have a piece of the puzzle in them.


B)     Then, spend time laying out and being with each instance, each facet.  This does not have to be done all at once.  Akin to Gendlin’s dreamwork, one can sense into    “What comes to me about this? What about this spoke to me?  What seems important here? What does it seem to speak towards?”

It helps to take notes – be they verbal, or visual, some way to have a handle on what the instance, the experience, resonated with for you


C)     Then, one can take the threads of insights and felt connections of what came from doing this process, and allow them to be arranged in some geometric form, perhaps a real or metaphorical circle, pointing inward towards the center.


D)     Then, allow yourself to be with all of this in some way, letting the threads cross through the middle. “If I hold A and B and C and the unfolded threads of them, and let this all be here now, what comes for me?”

[More on this in Steps 6-9 of the Thinking at the Edge Manual]


A way to look at this structurally, is that this process is laying out facets like the pillars in Stonehenge. One uses the instances to form a sort of an altar, a linking and amplifying structure that honors and invokes something in the center. There are various sacred rituals that have some similar processes to this. . .

 BAND #3 Felt Sensing

This is the bandwidth that Focusing speaks about and intentionally operates in.


A)     It is important to acknowledge that felt-sensing and felt-recognition overlap much more than might be realized from giving each a separate name. At the same time, some  people who check in with their bodies may be doing more felt RECOGNITION than felt SENSING.  Each is valuable; perhaps being aware of each could be even richer.


B)  It is NOT a failure of your Focusing if a felt recognition place does not unfold by itself. I would suggest that the feeling tone associated with felt recognition may need a lot more external supportive interaction than a full felt sense does. This is where this distinction between the two may be helpful in terms of supporting their process.


A suggestion - don’t stay stuck by limiting yourself to only asking IT what it is and what it needs. Try some felt resonation – check some things outside of it, or check back through your experience for luminous or significant events in the past that seem to connect with it, and see what happens.


C)  Bruce Gibbs offered some helpful distinctions and definitions around felt sensing:

1) Felt Sensing – being aware of felt sensations that may have some meaning in them

2) Mindful Awareness -  offering caring open attention to felt sensations that may have meaning in them

3) Focusing – zigzagging BETWEEN felt sensing and thoughts and ideas, checking and resonating back and forth. [And the techniques to assist felt sensing to unfold – the little tricks of Focusing.]


These distinctions may help in conversations with people who use other processes that involve some felt sensing, but may not use the resonation, or the zigzagging between felt and conceptual, between felt and symbolization, that Focusing does.


Focusing is a very powerful process, and very integrating, as it operates across many aspects of our living:

-Body and mind

-Right and left brain (rational and linear)

-Known and not-yet-known

-Embodied and about-to-embody

-Linear beta awareness, the body, and theta awareness


                        So, staying connected with a felt sense of rightness can help one relate to and assimilate other energies at a speed that honors multiple dimensions of our being, including physical and mental dimensions


A brief listing of several of the gifts of Focusing

 (see the “Focusing as a Flavor Enhancer” post on Focusing Discussion list from 2002 if interested in more on this)


I) Intimate and in-the-moment connection with “Life forward movement” in oneself and others

II) Grounding in the body/ in the present

III) Helping synchronize and integrate cognitive and felt/ right and left brain/ mind and body/ inner and outer ways of knowing and processing.

IV) Expressing uniqueness, finding one’s own rhythms and  ‘intrinsic rightness’.

V) Cultivating and embodying spiritual/life-affirming qualities. Learning and experiencing the nurturing and growth of Life forms. Qualities of attention that promote peace and growth and respect and compassion are cultivated consciously in focusing.

VI) Increased sensitivity to manipulation and “you shoulds”. Improved inner and outer harmony.

VII) Experiencing the ‘life positive intention’ in things

VIII)   Respectful ways of honoring contradictory aspects inside

IX) Cultivating ‘just being’ without getting ‘lost’ from our bodily felt experience

X) Higher sensitivity to ‘life currents’, felt flow of energies

XI) Cultivating of faith, and in opening to the ‘More’, the ‘Mystery’





BAND #4 Conceptual Thought

This is a vast area. In this presentation, due to time constraints, I will briefly discuss Mental Models, which can help guide our thinking and sensing.

Mental models can help us discover blind spots and areas of felt dissociation


Sometimes, when we are stuck in thinking, connecting with is alive in our bodies, with the truth of our felt experiencing, leads to life forward movement.


Sometimes, when we are stuck in feeling (identified very closely with something), we can create more space by offering Presence.


What is equally true, though less often stated, is that another way to create more space involves holding a mental model.  For example:


“I can’t feel the peace or the resolution, but I KNOW it is in there somewhere.” This holds some space into which something can emerge. It opens and pauses and waits for something to come. (note that this can be a Band One – Disembodied Intuition process, and, it can invite a felt sense to form, as well)


Holding a mental model also opens the possibility for holding a doubled awareness   holding both the truth of present aware experience, and also the truth of presently-unsensed-but-existing-experience.


As a brief illustration, here are a few useful beliefs/mental models within several practices. Each of these processes contains much more than this;  I listed one for each just to illustrate some of the diversity of helpful belief systems:


NVC – all judgments are tragic expressions of unmet needs. (If you hear a judgment, you can choose to sense into the need underneath it, rather than arguing with or reacting to it.)

Focusing  (all types) - just being with something allows it to shift

Internal Family Systems – Self is curious, compassionate, open. If one is not experiencing those feelings in the moment, then one is “in” a part. Being aware of this creates some spaciousness and re-orientation

Treasure Maps of the Soul (Focusing) – If you are stuck, there is probably something out of your awareness, that doesn’t want to do something. It is in conflict with the part of you that you are aware of (that does want to do it)…. Being aware of this helps one sense into it and connect with it to work with it.

Integral Theory (Ken Wilber’s work) – There are four axes of experiencing that are true for ALL things – along personal, collective, subjective, and objective lines . Being aware of each of them allows for a more integrated approach and understanding.


----------------             -----------------------                       -----------------------


Some Supporting Neurobiology

If disembodied intuition and felt sensing are somewhat distinct channels, and if they both involve pausing and opening, what does neurobiology offer to our understanding?


A)     Brain wave patterns:

 Beta rhythm – (over 12 cycles per second) – associated with linear and rational thinking


Alpha rhythm  (7-11 cycles per second)  This is associated with REM sleep, daydreaming, visualizations.

This is the frequency at which the conscious and unconscious communicate, at which the mind and body communicate. Yogis who do physical feats (stopping heart, etc) are operating at this frequency. Visualizations for health and healing seem to operate at this level. It is likely that this frequency is highly correlated with Focusing and embodied/felt intution.


Theta rhythm  ( 4-7 cycles per second) often associated with experiences of the transpersonal dimensions. Precognition, prescience, along with ‘enlightenment experiences’ all seem to correspond to this frequency. On this frequency, space and time may have little meaning or effect. It is likely that this frequency is highly correlated with disembodied intuition.

Menninger Institute (Topeka, Kansas) experimented with offering theta brainwave biofeedback training for drug abusing teenagers. When several of the teens were able to access theta, they also began having precognitive experiences that proved accurate. This was distressing to them, so they stopped the biofeedback work and these experiences stopped occurring to them.

Numerous meditative traditions describe psychic phenomena that can occur while doing spiritual practices.


B) Neurobiology of the cerebral cortex  (from Dr Daniel Siegel – “The Neurobiology of We”)

Starting with perceptual data – it needs to be filtered and organized into meaning in our brains.

This becomes organized into patterns of perceiving and understanding, such as what to pay attention to, what matters and what doesn’t, what things mean….

 Some patterns are developed by habit, some for our survival.

The cerebral cortex is only 6 layers thick.  Information flows bottom-up, from perceptual systems, and also top-down, as well.


Even below our cortex (below awareness), the brainstem and the limbic system appraise the meaning of events, and shade the here-and-now with their influences.

Bottom-up data come up from the earlier brain, and through layers 6 and 5, then go to layers 4 and 3, where we become consciously aware of them.


Prior learning shapes the way we filter bottom-up data. Top down data (thinking, ideas, beliefs)  flow from layers 1 and 2, and then to layers 3 and 4.


These two movements of firing patterns crash into each other like two waves, one upon the other.

Depending on the relative strength of these two waves, one or the other may predominate. The net influence of this interaction is what we experience in consciousness.

Over time, the top layers of cortex tend to suppress input seen as irrelevant. So one does not even notice it after a while. This not-noticing tends to continue, unless something changes it:


Over time and accumulation of more and more experiences, layers 1 and 2 can become stronger, and virtually suffocate our lives, making things seem dull and familiar.

Without mindful awareness, layers 3 and 4 of the cortex are constrained, and WE DON’T EVEN KNOW THAT IT IS HAPPENING. So we can be trapped in that habitual way of not-attending to input.

Creating states of mindful awareness disengages the top-down flow, which allows the bottom-up flow can be more appreciated. When using mindful awareness practices, when we notice our experiencing, we are intentionally dis-engaging the input from layers 1 and 2. (in a way, suspending it)



C) Registration of Futility as a core aspect of learning and change


Developmental research suggests that the main thing that allows an adaptive response, a capacity to change, is the registration of futility (often associated with tears of sadness or loss). 


If this is registered, then the habitual patterns that were trying to achieve something that seemed futile can stop.

This frees up attention and energy for the mind/body to open to new possibilities of attending and behaving.


One can open intentionally.

And, another pathway is that one can feel the futility of what doesn’t work, ‘give up’ continuing in that way, and have some kind of opening experience.


One can see the connections between this, and the practices of “Letting go”, “I surrender”, …




D) What allows something to enter into our awareness?

What does the mind-body consider to be of possible importance (a signal of something) and what does it considers to be irrelevant or distracting (noise)?

Pattern recognition – something becomes recognized as important, and as having certain meaning.    Neurons that fire together, wire together.


Some factors that influence our connecting with this flow of energy and information through our bodies and through the universe:

-Amplitude of the signal (the stronger it is, the easier to get the message)

-Sensitivity (the more sensitive one is to subtle clues, the more easily one can find and relate to them. Akin to a wildlife tracker. Or someone expert in their field, pattern recognition)

- Pausing the habitual, ongoing processes   lessen the habitual top-down patterns of interpreting and interacting with reality (business as usual) filtering our input and life energies.

……………….. intentionally or accidentally stopping (vacation, take a break, just breathing…)

…….. experiencing futility. Developmental research suggests that the registering of futility by the brain allows an adaptive response, and a change from habitual operating patterns that are now registered as not working. Experiencing futility allows a letting go and opening to the new.

-Directing attention to somewhere new.  We can learn to “point” the sensing into certain directions, or domains, or along certain pathways, by offering a suggestion or concept. This offers a welcome to certain energetic aspects of life, and, a tuning in to that frequency.

This can be done by a teacher, or offering a model. (feeling and needs in NVC, felt meaning in Focusing, etc)

-Freeing up limiting beliefs. Give permission for something new (such as in intuition training, mentioned earlier)

-[I am sure that there are more…]


The more we do this, the more we grow in our capacity for mindful loving awareness, and we also grow in sensitivity and connection with these realms.


Venn Diagram of RELEVATION (priority by relevance to needs)

(Much gratitude to Tom Atlee    for presenting this term to me)



RELEVATIONthe elevation from the implicit to explicit manifestation depending on relevance to the needs or the calling forth of the explicate order.






















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A Community Example


At this point, I wish to offer a story of an African village healing practice that Gena Corea once shared with me. 

It is a community practice , which seems to incorporate intuiting, felt sensing, felt recognition, and reflection.


It inspires me to consider what is possible when these practices are combined and engaged in community settings.



In this village, the people cannot even imagine that anyone can be a healer without being a musician as well. The two are inseparably linked in the culture, in their worldview.

And, within the belief system of this village, when someone is ill or troubled, the general diagnosis is that this person has “lost their rhythm”, or lost their song.

In the healing ceremony, the village gathers around that person, and they all begin to sense into the situation. Together, the community and the person suffering all seek the rhythm of the one who is out of sync. Perhaps they form a circle, or a half circle.. .

Someone may have an inspiration. They offer a rhythm, and then ask the “patient  -  “Is this it?”

The patient checks it for fit ( resonation/felt recognition), trying it on, seeing how it works, how close it is.

This rhythm might not fit at all and is rejected. Or, it may act as a bad reflection in Focusing and lead to something a bit closer….

Either way, on they go, this group of people caring, co-sensing, sharing a healing space. All are welcome to enter into it, all are welcome to contribute, each one sensing into something for the good of one of its members.

This can last for hours or even days

One can imagine the beautiful celebration, joy, and sense of community that occurs once the when the person is reconnected with “his song”. . . .


Putting this all together

“When the flower blossoms, the bees come uninvited..”

Speaking to those who know Focusing, you are familiar with the warm and inviting space that we offer while Focusing, inviting a felt sense to form. You are accustomed to opening and pausing the habitual to sense more deeply..

Speaking to those who do not know Focusing, you may also be accustomed to opening, pausing the habitual, welcoming and inviting Something More to enter.


From an attachment perspective, inviting one to exist in one’s presence, and delighting in another’s presence, are the most powerful supporters of life and growth.

When open, welcoming, inviting spaces are offered to experiencing, MANY forms of life-forward energy and information - disembodied intuition, the felt sense level of intuition, and more , can also enter into awareness.

It is the hope of this article that we may be more able to fully welcome and appreciate these diverse  guests” when they come to bless us with their gifts.

Ways to integrate Focusing, Disembodied Intuition, and Conceptual thinking will be the topic of a further article to be posted later “Upgrading to 3-channel Processing”


Keeping Balanced and Centered as We Explore


Open gently. . . .

A bit at a time . . .

The universe is vast, and CAN pour through us with a great richness


And, as wonderful as that can be, we also want to maintain the integrity of this physical incarnation…


Sometimes there are surprises along the “information superhighway” -  as you enter into the process of integrating diverse forms of energy and knowing, remember to continually check with yourself for felt rightness of depth and speed as you proceed along this adventure, honoring the multiple layers of our being and growing and moving in the world.    Exercise 3









Perception mode

Sensory Equipment

Knowledge through uniting with, being one with

 Knowledge through being part of the whole, and so perception of other parts through the whole.

Action mode

Action involving interaction between separate entities

Uniting with

“prayer” – attempts to mobilize the energy of the One for another part of it


Action-to-an-end. Cause and effect sequences. Physical action. Self interest.

ESP phenomenon

Type I healing

“coincidences starting to happen”

Type 5 healing (super speed)


[Things that can’t happen or be true from this perspective]

ESP phenomena. Action without an intervening variable.

Type I and Type 5 healing

Separate units or entities

Action to an end.

Wishing or willing.


Any entity NOT being part of the whole.



Steady movement from past to present to future. “Time’s Arrow”

The eternal now without past, present, or future. But sequences remain.

The eternal now.

??if sequences remain


Measured in inches and light years

An illusion. All is one

Real, but completely unimportant.

Parts of the whole are separated by it, but, being one with the One, this does not matter at all.


A useful concept.  The way entities affect each other, and the way we describe processes between entities. The ability to produce action or effect. That which does work.

Not a useful concept. One cannot do work in this reality. However, being in this state of awareness can affect energies in the bodies of healer and healee from the perspective of Sensory Reality

A useful concept. Through mental action (will, intention) one attempts to bring the immense energies of the universe to bear on another part of it in order to increase the harmony of that part.

Feelings Mobilized by the state

All the variations described by psychologists and others

Calm, peace, serenity, centeredness

Awe, humility, deep religious feelings. Serenity, calm.


From  The Medium, the Mystic and the Physicist”   by   Dr Lawrence LeShan


Exercise 1 Can pause here and have small group reflections:


Have you had information along these lines?

What was it like? How did the information come to you?

(how did you relate to what came?)

[[Sharing in 3’s or 4’s                Then some whole group sharing]]



Exercise 2:


An example of this is the Health Intuition process.

[we can do this exercise, as well, that follows, which is from Karen Kassy’s book “Health Intuition”]:


Think about someone – be it yourself, a pet,  or someone you care about


Step One – Meditate/ Quiet Down

Spend a few quiet minutes with your breath


Step Two – Invocate

“Dear (Divine Source), please give me the information on {person, animal, name and age if you have it}.

The truth so that they can hear it and it can help them.


Please let this information come through with compassion, clarity, and, if appropriate, completeness, the cause behind the cause, through my heart center.


Please do not let anything of mine (filters, biases, assumptions, etc.) interfere with the message.

I ask that none of my vital energy be used in obtaining this information.                           


Please send a blessing to {person, animal,etc}   .   Thank you.”


Step Three – Tune In

Take a few minutes to notice and maybe write down your impressions.

Your mind can ask questions, like a journalist

Whom..   What …   Where…  When…. How…?

..and then take notes physically or mentally.


Step Four – Re-entry.  Shake off the energy. Sit quietly for a moment.


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Exercise 3

Taking in, integrating, and going forward


Let us take a few minutes to settle in

And connect with our breath, and our bodies

As we do so, while holding an awareness of ourselves here, and of our bodies and of our breathing

Check and see if it is ok for awareness to expand into some additional realm of sensing.  We have covered a great deal. Perhaps some aspect of it will call to you. . . .

Perhaps connected to something we have gone over; perhaps somewhere else that wants attention


Check and see if there is anything that you feel that you would like to welcome in.

What comes for you?

Some information or insight?

Some energetic or felt experience of something?

It may be something new that seems to come from beyond you. It may be with places in you that have good reasons to be making the choices that they are.

Allow this to unfold while you also honor this bodily felt aspect of your being. Allow your body to help you assimilate what comes at a pace that respects all of who you are.

You may want to check and see if there is any sense of a next step for you- with respect to this material, or in your life in general……

And, as we return back to this shared space, thank whatever has emerged for showing up.

And also, allow yourself to BE thanked by anything that has emerged,

And allow yourself to thank yourself for your being open to what is right for you, for whatever you connected with.

And, when you are ready,,,,,,   ? small group sharing, then whole group?