A friend has asked me to write about “self-in-presence in plain English.” Self-in-presence is a concept from Inner Relationship Focusing. It refers to a skill or capacity, as well as an experience, that creates the conditions for physically felt inner data-wisdom-information to come into a person’s awareness.
Einstein is quoted as saying, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Whether or not he actually said it, the idea is significant. Inner data can play an important role in taking us beyond what we already know and toward new, present-moment information that can be applied to day-to-day living. This enables us to make choices and take actions in life that are more self-connected, rather than following along with what is already known–either from socialized habits and ideas, or from our own thinking about issues and situations.
Because self-in-presence is a pre-requisite for access to this inner data or wisdom, much of the early learning in Inner Relationship Focusing attends to cultivating self-in-presence and its related inner attitudes. In this post, I’ll outline an exercise that will provide an experience of self-in-presence. It is one of the first in an Inner Relationship Focusing class. In the next part of this series, I’ll outline three of its conceptual aspects.
An experience of self-in-presence
Helpful hints: you might like to consider choosing a relatively mild situation, where you rate your emotions as somewhere between 3 and 5 out of 10 (where 10/10 means you are very bothered). Also, please consider writing down your responses. These two steps will enhance your learning.
1) Think of a situation that bothered you somehow.
2) Write down 1 sentence about it that includes what happened and what emotion arose. For example: “When that person cut me off in traffic this morning, I was pissed.”
3) Read the emotion part of the sentence back to yourself a time or two. For example, “I was pissed.” Take your time reading it. Maybe you might like to do it out loud.
4) Take a moment to notice what’s happening with your thoughts, emotions, energy level, breathing and body sensations. You might like to write these observations down.
5) Rewrite your sentence adding the words “I’m noticing.” For example, “I’m noticing I’m pissed.” Read your sentence to yourself slowly.
6) Take a moment to notice what’s happening with your thoughts, emotions, energy level, breathing and body sensations. You might like to write these observations down. Notice what, if anything, is different or new compared to what you noticed in step 4.
7) Rewrite your sentence again, this time adding the phrase “something in me.” For example, “I’m noticing something in me is feeling pissed.” Read it to yourself slowly. Place an emphasis on the word “something.” For example, “I’m noticing something in me is feeling pissed.”
8) Take a moment to notice what’s happening with your thoughts, emotions, energy level, breathing and body sensations. You might like to write these observations down, along with anything more you are noticing now. What, if anything, is different or new compared to what you noticed in steps 4 and 6?
I invite you to post your experience and observations in the comments below. In part two, I’ll be writing more conceptually about self-in-presence and I enjoy being in conversation about actual experiences as a way to relate the concepts to real life.