Focusing and Buddhism

Margaret Hannah

The following is an extract from a dissertation which I completed
early in 2004 in order to gain an MA in Psychotherapy, and which is
entitled “Focusing: its Use and Context within Core Process
Psychotherapy”.

For those unfamiliar with Core Process, it is a psychotherapeutic
approach which embraces Buddhist teachings. It is taught at the
Karuna Institute, near Widecombe in the Moor, Devon, England —
“Karuna” means compassion in Sanskrit. Core Process also adopts some
modern western psychological theories, mainly of the client-centred
type, which in my view sit comfortably within the Buddhist philosophy.

Focusing is the only “technique” or skill which is taught formally in
the Core Process training, and I use it frequently in my work with
clients. I hope this section may be of interest to those wanting to
investigate Buddhism and/or meditation.

Margaret Hannah, MA
Core Process Psychotherapist
(Accredited UKCP)
2004

CONNECTION WITH BUDDHISM

Core Process is a psychotherapeutic approach which embraces Buddhist
philosophy, and as such accepts the central tenet of the Buddha’s
teaching, the Four Noble Truths. As Chogyam Trungpa states, these are
“the truth of suffering, the truth of the origin of suffering, the
truth of the goal, and the truth of the path”. He was acknowledging
that the human condition inherently involves suffering, that it is
possible to understand how the suffering has evolved, to carry an
intention to end the suffering, and through contemplative spiritual
practice attain the blissful state where suffering no longer
exists. Indeed, Core Process is regarded as a contemplative model of
psychotherapy. This is because it can be likened to the spiritual
practice of vipassana meditation. In this, the intention is to be
physically still, to slow the mind and place the attention inward,
observing what arises within and letting this pass away. In a therapy
session the therapist’s role can be seen to replicate the observing
part of the meditator, and the material presented by the client as
that which arises in the meditator. The
non-judgmental contemplation of the therapist of the material allows
it to transform and thus pass away. In the
vipassana method, the relationship with the body is central.

The Contemplation of the Body — The Satipatthana Sutta

In Buddhism, the term “Dharma” or “Dhamma” is translated as “spiritual
path”, or more loosely as “spirituality” or
“righteousness”. Nyanaponika Thera writes in his “Vision of Dhamma”,

“The most concise expression of the Dhamma, its unifying framework, is
the teaching of the Four Noble Truths: suffering, its origin, its
cessation and the way leading to its cessation” (29, Intro p. xix).

He goes on to emphasise the importance of the teaching of the
Satipatthana Sutta in relation to spiritual practice. He writes:

“The teachings of the Buddha offer a great variety of methods of
mental training and subjects of meditation, suited to the various
individual needs, temperaments and capacities. Yet all these methods
ultimately converge in the “Way of Mindfulness” called by the Master
himself “The Only Way” … the systematic cultivation of Right
Mindfulness, as taught by the Buddha in his Discourse on Satipatthana,
still provides the simple and direct, the most thorough and effective,
method for training and developing the mind for its daily tasks and
problems as well as for its highest aim” (28, p.7).

The
Satipatthana Sutta occurs twice in the Buddhist scriptures, once in
the Majjhima Nikaya (Middle Collection of Discourses) and again in an
extended version in the Digha Nikaya (Long Collection), where it is
referred to as the Maha-Satipatthana Sutta (The Great Discourse).
This teaching was given by the Buddha both at the beginning and the
end of his career, latterly when he was ill and his disciples were
anxious that he would soon die, at which time his faithful attendant
Ananda asked him for a teaching. He is said to have replied:

“Be
your own island, Ananda, be your own refuge! Do not take any other
refuge! Let the Teaching be your island, let the Teaching be your
refuge; do not take any other refuge! And how, Ananda, does a monk
take himself as an island, himself as refuge, is without any other
refuge? How is the Teaching his island and refuge, and nothing else?
Herein a monk dwells practising body-contemplation on the body …
feeling-contemplation on feelings … mind-contemplation on the mind
… mind-object contemplation on mind-objects, ardent, clearly
comprehending and mindful, having overcome covetousness and grief
concerning the world. In that way, Ananda, will a monk be his own
island and refuge, without any other, in that way will he have the
Teaching as his island and refuge, and nothing else.” (Nyaponika
Thera quoting from the Pali Canon, 28, p.140)

The Buddha’s teaching emphasises therefore, that for liberation from
suffering, all one needs is one’s own body and experience. He is, in
my view, implying in the final sentence of the above quotation that in
his physical being he embodies the teaching; all he needs is within
himself, “nothing else” is required from outside of himself. This
message is wonderful news for the monks; what more empowering a
concept than to know that the key to your liberation from suffering
lies within what you already have. Self-enquiry, including enquiry
into the body can provide all; and a parallel with focusing is
evident.

The Satipatthana Sutta describes in detail the various elements of
human experience which the monk should contemplate. These include
bodily functions such as breathing, postures, physical movement,
bodily feelings such as pain, pleasure or neutrality, sense
perceptions like sound, sight, smell, touch, taste, “mental objects”
such as emotions like anger, desire, sloth, agitation, doubt, and
factors of enlightenment such as mindfulness, energy, joy,
tranquillity, and equanimity. Consciousness is also listed as an
element to contemplate. Included in the list is the contemplation of
the body as the four elements of earth, fire, water and air; as well
as all unseen elements of the body, some of which may provoke
revulsion such as bile and faeces. In addition, and surprising to the
modern mind, are the “nine cemetery contemplations” — which the
monk is encouraged to undertake at charnel grounds in order to realise
the impermanence of the body.

Each element described in the list falls within one of four
categories: body, feeling, mental object or consciousness. And at the
end of each section describing the object or objects of contemplation,
there is a reiterated passage, as follows:

“Thus he lives
contemplating the body (or other category) in the body internally, or
he lives contemplating the body in the body, internally and
externally. He lives contemplating origination-factors in the body,
or he lives contemplating origination-and-dissolution factors in the
body. Or his mindfulness is established with the thought: “The
body exists,” to the extent necessary just for knowledge and
mindfulness, and he lives detached, and clings to naught in the world.
Thus also, monks, a monk lives contemplating the body in the body.”
(15, p.113)

This teaching comes from around two and a half thousand years ago (the
Buddha’s exact dates are unknown), from a distant culture, and has
been translated. It is therefore always open to interpretation.
However, what may be revealed by self-enquiry of ourselves as humans,
it seems to me, is not dependent upon time and culture, but will
contain basically similar elements. Nyanaponika Thera writes “True
wisdom is always young” (28, p.21). The contemplation of “the body
in the body” in my view means that it is necessary in this practice to
delve into the bodily-held experience to taste and appreciate its
qualities. Thich Nat Hanh writes: “To comprehend something means
to pick it up and be one with it. There is no other way to understand
something” (14, p.11). This is echoed by Tarab Tulku:

“It is
important to note that in accordance with Tibetan psychology, the
conceptualisation of emotionality represses it. This psychological
view suggests that instead of letting the conceptualising mind
dominate and repress the emotions, we should stay with and live
through the emotional experience” (27, p.33).

Chogyam Trungpa, in
answer to the question “How do you transmute emotions?”, replied

“Instead of experiencing emotions as being separate from you, your
rather unruly employees so to speak, you must actually feel the
texture and real living quality of the emotions … We have to be
brave enough to actually encounter our emotions” (30, p.235).

There is no intellectualisation of the experience, no dwelling on the
relationship with the experience which is created by the ego; it is
“going into” in order more fully to understand it. This is directly
comparable with what happens in focusing. Campbell and McMahon write:

“Most of us only feel our uncomfortableness with a problem or our
need to control it. Rarely, however, do we experience what it is like
deliberately and consciously to be in the body’s sense of negative
issue. … This openness to bodily knowing within the Focusing
process sets the stage for real and sometimes dramatic change as
hurting places are allowed to unfold.” (2, p.17)

There is also possibly a connection between the focusing process and
the concept of “origination” and “dissolution” factors in the body.
When a felt sense rises into consciousness, or when one realises more
about that felt sense, could this not be an origination factor? And
when a felt shift occurs, this is surely energy transforming, or in
other words, dissolving. It may be that this instruction in the Sutta
is describing factors of personality arising from the ground of
emergence, the not-self, and dissolving back into it, and so presumes
a state of relative enlightenment which is not the case with focusing
instruction. Certainly for the contemplation of consciousness,
considerable enlightenment would seem to be necessary; although the
other three categories of contemplation, i.e. body, feeling and mental
objects do arguably encompass the material which is worked with in the
focusing process.

Contemplating the body “externally” would not seem to find a direct
parallel with the focusing process. As explained in Nyanaponika
Thera’s “Heart of Buddhist Meditation”:

“And how does a monk dwell
practising body-contemplation on the body externally? Herein a monk
reflects upon a body external to himself.” (28, p.155)

However, certain of the instructions concerned with contemplation on
the body which are explained by Thera in the same work can be seen as
having some parallels with focusing. In answer to the question
“How does one dwell practising body-contemplation on the body?”
The Buddha’s answer is seven-fold:

“Contemplating it as
impermanent, he abandons the notion of permanency, contemplating it as
painful, he abandons the notion of pleasure, contemplating it as
not-self, he abandons the notion of a self; by turning away he
abandons delight; by being dispassionate he abandons greed; by causing
cessation he abandons origination; by relinquishing he abandons
grasping” (28, p.156).

Certainly focusing can be linked to the
first element of the above teaching in that it embraces the notion of
impermanency — an acceptance that change is not only possible but
natural and healthy; and to the second element in that, in focusing
there has to be a willingness to be with painful aspects of the self,
temporarily abandoning defences against pain. In addition, the sixth
and seventh elements “by causing cessation he abandons
origination” and “by relinquishing he abandons grasping” can
be related to the process of bringing unconscious aspects into
consciousness — the realisations and felt shifts which are
indications of real psychological change.

The fifth, fourth and third elements, which are about abandoning
greed, physical pleasure and the notion of self are more difficult to
relate to focusing, as these teachings assumes the highest spiritual
aim of enlightenment, which in Buddhism carries an intention to
realise the “not-self”, that which is not conditioned, being beyond
individual personality in order to “overcome grief and covetousness
concerning the world” (28, p.154). In focusing, the self and its
development is emphasised — the aim is to become happier with
ourselves, more fulfilled as individuals within the world.

The development of mindfulness can be seen as involving two different
types of practice, one formal and time limited, the other an
application of awareness within everyday living. Chogyam Trungpa
writes:

“In addition to the sitting form of meditation there is the
meditation practice in everyday life of panoramic awareness. This
particular kind of practice is connected with identifying with the
activities one is involved in. The awareness practice could apply to
artwork or any other activity” (31, p.80).

He also writes
“Sitting meditation needs to be combined with an awareness practice
in everyday life” (32, p.47). Nyanaponika Thera similarly states:

“to trap the actual and potential power of mindfulness it is
necessary to understand and deliberately cultivate it in its basic,
unalloyed form, which we shall call bare attention. … Bare
attention is developed in two ways: (1) as a methodical meditative
practice with selected objects; (2) as applied, as far as practicable,
to the normal events of the day, together with a general attitude of
mindfulness and clear comprehension.” (29, p.50-51)

There is certainly a parallel here to the use of focusing in Core
Process Psychotherapy. The devotion of a part of a therapy session to
a time-limited section, proceeding formally through focusing steps,
can be likened to the first “sitting form of meditation”,
whereas the practice of inviting the client momentarily to become
aware of their felt sense, bringing their awareness to the inside of
their bodies, is like the second. Neil Friedman described these two
types of focusing in his psychotherapy practice, calling them
“focusing rounds” and “mini-focusings” (7, p.129). The
more practice undertaken in focusing, the easier this “touching
momentarily into the felt sense” becomes. Moreover, I have found that
my own practice of focusing has increased my ability to find a state
of “panoramic awareness” in everyday living. Paradoxically, to become
more aware of oneself at an inner level, is actually to become more
aware of everything around one as well. Campbell and McMahon write in
“Bio-Spirituality”: “We also find that Focusing can support
spiritual growth by inviting a person to step beyond the mind’s
perennial quest for control” (2, p.52), and McMahon in “Beyond the
Myth of Dominance” urges:

“Look not with your mind, but with your
body. If you can find a way to live in your body and not reject any
of it, then you will be guided into discovering the wisdom you sense
in nature all around you. Your own body is the key that will tune you
into this vast and awesome Presence, the source of all wisdom” (24,
p.199).

Are there then similarities between developing the skill of
focusing and developing the “bare attention”; that is the key to the
“potential power of mindfulness”? There are in my view significant
parallels.

In developing bare attention, and in developing Focusing, there is a
common objective: that of examining the self in order to transform the
self. Similar advice is given about physical posture to be adopted.
For sitting meditation and for Focusing, a relaxed posture with a
straight spine is usually recommended. As well as a similar physical
attitude, there is the adoption of similar mind-sets in approaching
meditation or focusing. These mind-sets are typified by qualities
which are positive and expansive, involving trust and open-mindedness.
In Buddhist meditation, confidence and curiosity are emphasised.
Chogyam Trungpa writes: “This awareness practice … requires
confidence. Any kind of activity that requires discipline requires
confidence”(31, p.80), and in “Cutting through Spiritual
Materialism” he states

“in order to be a completely inspired person
like Gautama Buddha, you have to be very open-minded and intelligent,
an inquisitive person. You have to want to explore everything”
(30, p.162).

even though what is found may seem ugly, painful or
repulsive. Nyanaponika Thera also writes: “The aim of the
meditative practice to be described here, is the highest which the
teaching of the Buddha offers. Therefore the practice should be taken
up in a mental attitude befitting such a high purpose”. He goes on
to suggest that the meditator recite the Threefold Refuge because
“this will instil confidence in him, which is so important for
meditative progress.” (28, p. 91)

Focusing writers Amodeo and Wentworth emphasise faith (confidence
actually means “with faith”) and courage: “Allowing ourselves
to vulnerably open to a full range of felt experience requires the
courage to take intelligent risks.” And “Facing unknown outcomes
requires living with a realistic degree of faith” (1, pp 83-84).
Other writers describe the cultivation of a respectful attitude and
friendliness to the self, as well as curiosity: “The point of
creating a caring-feeling-presence is … to create an open enough
body climate within which negative feelings can be owned” (24,
p.118). “A Focusing attitude is a respect for a reverence towards
concrete bodily felt experiencing” (7, p.130). “Focusing is
like being a friend to your own inner experience. The qualities of
true friendship include acknowledging, allowing patience, curiosity,
respect, warmth, welcome, empathy, compassion, and love.” (34,
p.18).

This encouragement by writers on focusing to be warm and friendly
towards oneself may be in light of the prevalence of low self-esteem
in our culture today; it may be that greater natural self esteem was a
given for the Buddha. When I consider my own experience when
approaching a Focusing session or a meditation session, I note that in
both cases I enter a mind-state of slowing or dropping thought
processes, where my attention is inwards rather than outwards; and
there is an aspect of giving time to myself, of self-nourishment, and
inner expansion. For both activities, I drop as much as possible my
tendency to self-judgment, and carry an intention to notice this at a
subtle level when it arises; this is different from my everyday
consciousness mode. There is also common to both a sense of a
balancing act going on; not getting drawn into self-criticism, not
getting drawn into thoughts, a sort of “hovering at the edge”. Ajahn
Chah writes, when giving advice about meditation technique “To
practise in a way that’s peaceful means to place mind neither too high
or too low, but at the point of balance” (3, p.47). Chogyam
Trungpa echoes this, when relating a story about a sitar player who
asked the Buddha how to meditate: “The musician asked, “Should I
control my mind or should I completely let go?” The Buddha
answered, “Since you are great musician, tell me how you would tune
the strings of your instrument.” The musician said, “I would
make them not too tight and not too loose.” “Likewise”, said
the Buddha, “in your meditation practice you should not impose
anything too forceful on your mind, nor should you let it wander.”
That is the teaching of letting the mind be in a very open way, of
feeling the flow of energy without trying to subdue it and without
letting it get out of control.” (30, p.10)

There can definitely be shifts in my experience of time in practising
focusing and in meditation. In both, I am less aware of time as a
linear process. I have focused for forty-five minute periods when I
seem to have visited many deep places in myself and been aware of
significant shifts, and yet have been astonished when given the “five
minutes to go” signal from my listener — much more time has elapsed
than I would have guessed. This can also happen in those meditation
sessions when I experience less busy-ness of mind, a deeper
relaxation. In both meditation and focusing also, thoughts can arise,
acting as distractions from the intended process. When this happens
in a focusing session with a client, I encourage them to return their
attention to the body. When engaged in focusing myself, I bring my
attention back to my felt sense after realising my mind has wandered.
However in meditation something subtler, less action-oriented is
encouraged:

“In true meditation there is no ambition to stir up
thoughts, nor is there an ambition to suppress them. They are just
allowed to occur spontaneously and become an expression of basic
sanity. They become the expression of the precision and the clarity
of the awakened state of mind.” (Chogyam Trungpa, 30, p.10)

The Skandhas Trungpa also writes about thoughts in relation to
meditation:

“One comes to an understanding and transcendence of ego
by using meditation to work backwards through the Five Skandhas. And
the last development of the Fifth Skandha is the neurotic and
irregular thought patterns which constantly flit across the mind”
(31, p.151).

“Skandha” is the term use in Buddhism for elements of
the ego as it develops, the creation of ourselves as individuals. The
word is translated as “heaps” or “aggregates”, as it carries the
quality of “growing collections”. There are five of these. The first
involves the development of “form”, which arises from a fear of space.
The space is the universal energy, which holds all form in potential.
Trungpa writes:

“the fear of the absence of self, of the egoless
state, is a constant threat to us … We want to maintain some
solidity … so we try to solidify or freeze that experience of
space” (32, p.21).

The second skandha involves feeling, a seeking
to feel in order to confirm that we are distinct and separate from
that which is outside ourselves. The third skandha involves impulses
which are guided by perceptions. According to Trungpa this
encompasses

“indifference, passion and aggression. … Perception,
in this case, is the self-conscious feeling that you must officially
report back to central headquarters what is happening in any given
moment. Then you can manipulate each situation by organizing another
strategy” (32, p.21).

This is linked to the impulse to control our
experience. The fourth skandha involves the development of intellect
and concepts. Trungpa again:

“We cannot establish ego properly
without intellect, with the ability to conceptualize and name. By now
we have an enormously rich collection of things going on inside us.
Since we have so many things happening, we begin to categorize them
putting them into certain pigeon-holes, naming them” (32, p.22).

The last skandha is the development of consciousness. Thich Nat Hanh
states: “The fifth category, consciousness, however contains all
the other categories and is the basis of their existence” (15,
p.46). Although these are described in order, they arise together and
continuously, and are involved in the creation of karma. Trungpa
states that all five have one purpose:

“The whole development of
the five skandhas — ignorance/form, feeling, impulse/perception,
concept and consciousness — is an attempt on our part to shield
ourselves from the truth of our insubstantiality. The practice of
meditation is to see the transparency of this shield. … If we want
to take this wall down, we must take it down brick by brick; … So
the practice of meditation starts with the emotions and thought,
particularly with the thought process” (32, p.23).

Meditation can
be seen as an “unpacking” of the skandhas, so as to become eventually
free of karma, the cycle of birth and death.

In focusing there is an intention to move away from the emotions to
find the more subtle felt sense.

“A felt sense is the broader, at
first unclear, unrecognizable discomfort, … to let it form, you
have to stand back a little from the familiar emotion. The felt sense
is wider, less intense, easier to have, and much more broadly
inclusive” (Gendlin, 9, p.69).

So, any issue which may exist
around the relationship with our arising emotions is not entered into
immediately in the focusing process. However, during focusing, a
question about the emotional tone of a felt sense or image can
usefully be asked, and acknowledging such a tone can bring a process
step to reveal the nature of an underlying fear or belief. For
instance, in a recent focusing session I saw an image of a garage door
open inside my heart area. My listener asked if there was an emotional
tone, and I realised that there was anger involved with the
image. Underneath the anger was a fear of being energetically “too
open” and that to receive was also to be invaded. What was happening
here was, I would argue, an engagement with the anger and fear
unearthed in this process. It was necessary fully to taste the nature
of that particular anger and fear in order to move my process on. And
in order fully to taste them, it was also necessary to apply something
other than the “dualistic thought process” referred to by Trungpa.
The dualistic thought process involves judging whilst perceiving:
whatever is perceived is judged as right or wrong, good or bad; the
mind takes a fixed stance as to the desirability or repulsiveness of
that which is perceived. (Often the terms “clinging” and “aversion”
have been used to describe this in a Buddhist context). Focusing, as
described above, involves non-judgmental acceptance of that which
arises in the inner space. This seems to me to be closely related to
the space being described by Trungpa in “The Myth of Freedom”, when he
states that the Buddha’s teaching “was inspired by his discovery
that there is a tremendous space in which the universality of
inspiration is happening. There is pain, but there is also the
environment around the origin of pain. The whole thing becomes more
expansive, more open.” He goes on “the vipashyana practice that
we are attempting … is realizing that space contains matter, that
matter makes no demands on space and that space makes no demands on
matter. It is a reciprocal and open situation” (32, pp 58-59). In
focusing, it is tremendously helpful to be able to be with and to
explore the felt sense from such an open, spacious and non-judgmental
place, which allows for fluidity and change.

Focusing engages us in the more subtle felt sense which can be related
to the second skandha of feeling. In choosing to be with the bodily
felt sense we are helping to disengage from thought processes (peeling
away the fifth skandha), and similarly in realising emotional tones
held in the felt sense we are strengthening a non-attachment to
emotions associated with the fourth skandha. It is more difficult
directly to correlate the first skandha regarding form to the process
of focusing, and to the third one regarding perception/impulse. In
the Buddhist context, “impulse” is a phenomenon much more subtle that
a “wanting to”, which can be categorised as an emotion. I believe I
recently touched the edge of an impulse whilst focusing, when I
noticed quality of energy to the left of my heart which constantly
pulled away from settling into the moment, being fully present. It was
so subtle as to be difficult to describe in words, and my sense is
that it will take time and persistence to transform.

Of course, it would not be helpful to analyse in terms of skandhas or
another model the sensations which are noticed whilst in a focusing
session, as this would put one back into thought processes rather than
being with the felt sense. Finding a handle is about individual
experience, not about fitting an analytic construct. Nyanaponika
Thera describes something very similar when discussing meditation
technique:

“It is a fundamental principle of the Satipatthana
method that the disciple should take his very first steps on the firm
ground of his own experience. He should learn to see things as they
are, and he should see them for himself. He should not be influenced
by others” (28, p.87-88).

In Focusing, the listener is not
intending to influence or control the focuser, and most focusers find
the practice much enhanced by the presence of a listener (I would
suggest because of feeling reassured by being accompanied, and because
the spirit of non-judgment is reinforced by the listener’s quality of
presence and skilful reflection). The listener can be likened to a
“spiritual friend”. Trungpa describes this concept in relation to
unpeeling the layers of the ego:

“We must be willing to communicate
in a completely open and direct way with our spiritual friend and with
our life, without any hidden corners. …

Q: Must we have a spiritual
friend before we can expose ourselves, or can we just open ourselves
to the situations of life?
A: I think you need someone to watch you
do it, because then it will seem more real to you” (30, p.82-83).

The implication here is that the “spiritual friend” is a guru,
perhaps. However, as the role of the guru is to enable one to see
oneself more clearly, so the listener in focusing also fills this
role, albeit for a very limited time period. It is the finding of the
handle and expressing this to a listener which is perhaps the most
obvious difference between focusing and any form of meditation, the
latter being a practice where transmutation is usually an inner
process only.

CONCLUSION

The Buddha’s teaching on meditation practice was addressed to monks,
who were committed to a way of life which embraced non-harm to self or
others, the adoption of precepts such as poverty and chastity, in fact
surrendering all aspects of living to the goal of spiritual
enlightenment. At the present time those who embrace Buddhist beliefs
or practices are, of course, not necessarily monks. Still, vipassana
meditation is undertaken by the Buddhist practitioner with the
intention of becoming conscious that one’s basic true nature is
unalloyed joy and ecstasy; “as the Master says so emphatically in
the Discourse, the attainment of final deliverance from suffering
(Nibbana) is the ultimate aim and inherent power of Satipatthana”
(Nyanaponika Thera, 28, p.13). The practice is part of a spiritual
tradition which accepts the concepts of reincarnation, karmic effects,
and the paradoxical idea that liberation of an individual from
suffering is possible by releasing the concept of the self. Focusing
does not claim such connections of course, and is simply a skill
useful in the pursuit of self knowledge in the twentieth century
western cultural context of self-development. Gendlin writes “It
is a way of enhancing self-knowledge, rather than a complete
philosophy” and “focusing … should be combined with anything
else that can develop us as persons.” (9, p ix)

The foregoing has compared Focusing with Core Process Psychotherapy
and aspects of Buddhist philosophy and meditation practice. All these
teachings and practices are involved with the exploration and
strengthening of self-knowledge and the inner life, and as such, all
are methods of spiritual development, and can inform each other. The
key to success in all is the purity of intention of the practitioner.
As Ajahn Sucitto writes “We are our intention, that’s what forms
us” (26, p.109). Intention to change oneself involves courage,
honesty, commitment, perseverance and sensitivity. And all these
practices: Core Process Psychotherapy, Focusing, and Buddhist
meditation, combined with pure intention, are important, perhaps
vital, to the evolution of consciousness.

REFERENCES

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      • Campbell, P A and McMahon, E M: “Bio-Spirituality” Loyola University Press 1985 ISBN: 0-8294-0478-3
      • Chah, Venerable Ajahn: “Living Dhamma” The Sangha, Bung Wai Forest Monastery 1992
      • Chah, Venerable Ajahn: “Food for the Heart” The Sangha, Wat Pah Nanachat 1992 ISBN: 1 870205 12 X
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