Inner Presence is a way to explore your sensations and what they tell you about your emotions. You listen to your body and then try to find the right words and pictures to express what it is you are sensing in your body about your problems. This is not the same as explaining or analyzing what you feel, which is done in your head. Inner Presence is body- centered. It is the ability to keep company with yourself and listen without judgment to your own emotions and sensations.
First ask yourself, “What characteristics are embodied by a compassionate listener?” Most people answer: patience, attention, interest, empathy, love, warmth, acceptance, open, spacious, stillness, etc. These are the qualities that you want to embody when you are listening to yourself.
1. Begin by centering yourself and trying to embody compassion. Take a few moments to scan your body. Any area in your body is welcome to come to awareness but especially notice your sensations along your chakra points (pelvis, belly, chest, throat, head). Chakra points are pools or “store houses” of physical and emotional energy within our bodies. They are good places to find something to listen to. When you become aware of any sensations notice them without judgment. Acknowledge your sensations by saying, “Hello” to them, or “Yes, I know you are there”. Allow these sensations to exist in you without trying to change them, dismiss them, analyze them, or let them overwhelm you. You are merely compassionately observing these sensations.
2. When you acknowledge the sensation, notice how the sensation responds. Does it get stronger? Weaker? Dissipate? Transform? Be curious and open to it. Then let go of your thoughts about the sensations. Allow the sensations to be.
3. Then allow a description to come of what it feels like. This description could be in words, images, gestures, or sounds. Begin an inner dialog with your body. Every time a description emerges, check back with the sense to confirm whether your description is accurate or not. For example, you feel “something” in your chest. Stay with it. Soon you may sense that this “something” has a quality of “heaviness” to it. Take the word “heavy” and check back, “is the word heavy correct?” If not, let the word go and try again. Not heavy, but “drained”. “Is drained correct?” Drained may be partly correct. Maybe it’s “drained and empty”. Is “drained and empty correct?” Keep checking back with the felt sense until you find a description that fits with a satisfying sense of rightness. Be present with the sensation.
4.You may then want to ask what the “emotional” quality of the sensation is. Is it a “sad” drained and empty? Or a “satisfied” drained and empty? Again keep checking back with the sense to make sure your description fits.
5. Once you have explored the sense, you may want to give it prompts to reveal itself more fully, or ask it what it has to teach you. Avoid asking “why?” “Why” questions invite intellectual explanations and take you out of your body. Instead ask “what?” The goal is to observe how this whole thing feels in your body right now.
Applied Inner Presence
Applied Inner Presence is using the inner presence dialog to explore specific issues such as strong feelings that overwhelm you, habits, decisions that need made, physical symptoms, feeling stuck, interpersonal problems, etc.
1. Choose an issue to work on. 2. Bring your attention into your body. 3. Wait for a felt sense to form: take the time to feel how your issue feels in your body. 4. Get to know your felt sense by finding a description. 5. Explore the emotional quality of the felt sense. 6. Be present with the felt sense. 7. Ask if the felt sense has any more to teach you and receive whatever emerges. 8. End session by thanking yourself for listening and thank your body for talking.
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