Maximum opening of the nape is achieved whenever the head and the
neck are in a straight line with the spinal cord which is straight as
well. As this position is very similar to that which characterizes a
high level of pride, it invites to the awareness many felt sensations
related to trash-programs involving the emotions of status
i.e. superiority-inferiority, pride-shame and adoration-depreciation.
As the "focusing while opening the nape" can release pent-up
emotions, it is advised that the beginning focuser will
do it cautiously, taking the following measures:
The first measure: open the nape very gradually and only while
standing erect, lying comfortably on your back or most preferably -
while sitting comfortably with a good (from an orthopedic point of view)
support for the back and the head. Refrain from doing it when you have
pains in the neck or the higher parts of the back. Never force it too
far back even if no pain is felt.
The second measure: do not "open the nape" while in an emotional
turmoil or even when you only have strong emotions, feelings and
The third measure: whenever the felt sensations aroused during the
opening of the nape become too intense to work on comfortably, decrease
the opening and even harden the muscles if needed.
The first precaution must be taken in order to protect against the
abrupt stiffening of the neck, constriction of the muscles there and in
the back and chest, and other orthopedic damages. A good support will
prevent the uncontrolled and swift recruiting of other muscles of the
body to do the job of quenching the aroused sensations and feelings.
As a beginner, it will be easier for you to build the new habit and to find
your physical and emotional limits, if you do it gradually, while
sitting comfortably and paying a lot of attention to the sensations of
the nape and the surrounding muscles. Better postpone the more intense
opening of the nape to the later stages of your training or just leave
it to the experienced focusers.
The second precaution is taken with regard to situations and
emotional climates in which it is unwise to intensify the sensations or
to try to find what is lurking behind them. Actually, the existence of
any felt sensations the intensity of which is more than moderate is an
indication to refraining from opening the nape. The emergence of one
while you are doing it is a sign not to continue with the "opening" or
at least to reduce it. The recommendation to evade the initiation of
tackling intense sensations and feelings has many reasons, the most
prominent of which are:
The first one is simply because they are unpleasant.
The second one is that the best results and the least damage are
derived from the focusing on felt sensations of moderate and less intensity.
Though it is not based on systematic research, my accumulated experience of
seven years training new focusers - indicates this. It seems that the more
intense sensations and feelings - so much appreciated by the
professionals - too often strengthen the cover-programs or even initiate
the swift automatic process of building new cover-programs, thus
delaying the improvement of the trash-programs involved.
The third one is because of motivation. After the excitement
resulting from the surprises encountered while starting to meet the
focusing phenomena subsides, and after the extremely unpleasant feelings
and sensations start to dissolve, two of the main factors inspiring the
focusers to continue are the emotions of pride and amusement. When we
choose as targets of focusing sensations with a near neutral quality and
of low intensity, short and easy focusing tends to dissolve them. Thus,
we supply ourselves with challenges that yield quick results.
I and my trainees, as well as various scientist, have found that
often, the knowledge that doing something will yield good results in the
future, is not enough. It seems that our emotional system, and the way
it functions as our main motivation factor, is very childish.
The third precaution is taken when the "opening of the nape" brings
too strong feelings or other sensations and they do not recede when you
decrease the relaxation or stop it altogether: Whenever you open the
nape, be ready for the need to use the emergency act of "rubbing the
hands together while focusing". Preparing for this measure beforehand,
you will not forget it when flooded by intense felt sense.
The focusing on the nape of the neck - with or without opening it,
can be used for other purposes than the search for a felt sense to focus
on. Even when a suitable felt sensation or any other sensation
appropriate for focusing is available - there are sometimes good reasons
or potential benefits for focusing on something else. It is mostly so
when the prolonged focusing on the original ones does not bring the
wished for results fast enough.
One may also want to change the targets of focusing whenever their
unpleasantness increases or is prolonged, when they become boring, or
because they cause unwanted reactions like tears, sobbing, and coughing.
The focusing on the nape of the neck or its opening usually makes other
feelings and sensations available for focusing. In both cases, the
focusing on the newly invited ones usually cause the old unwanted ones
to recede or to disappear.
The focusing for about half a minute on the nape of the neck - with
or without opening it - as an introduction to each sensate focusing
session and before any other serious activity of focusing, is
Many trainees have found that when one dedicates time to focusing on
a "longer than a few seconds felt sensation" (of other locations than
the nape) or when one is engaged in a "project" of focusing on a
specific content, this introduction makes the mission easier and
improves the results.
2. The facial muscles and the vocal cords
The facial muscles and the vocal cords are, in essence, the outer
extensions of the system of the basic emotions and are directly
connected to them. All through one's life, the muscles of the face and
vocal cords are continuously fed by the basic emotions. In return, they
supply them and the other parts of the emotional system with a
continuous and indispensable natural biofeedback, related to the
emotional supra-programs active at the time.
Usually, those reciprocal relations are active at the margin of
awareness and we do not attention to them for more than a very short
period from time to time. One can always pay special attention to the
facial muscles and the vocal cords if one wants, and get in return the
awareness of felt sensations there. The facial muscles respond quickly
and easily, but those of the vocal cords do not. This is so because the
base line of the natural biofeedback of the vocal cords is weaker when
one is silent.
When the initial focusing of attention on those two sources does not
bring results, there is no room for despair, one can still get the right
results if one only focuses on a point there. Even the most protected
trash-programs are affected by this act. Usually, after a while, the
cover-programs yield to the pressure and some felt sensations other than
that of the normal tension of the muscles emerge from them - there or
The focusing on the marginal sensations of face and vocal cords
contributes mainly to the improvement of the active ad hoc
supra-programs. However, in the long run, diligent focusing on them
brings huge profits for the whole emotional system.
3. The mouth
Despite the fact that the mouth is a part of the face, a special
section is dedicated to its care. It acquired this honor as it was
established scientifically by cross-cultural studies all over the world,
that people use it more than any other part of the face in order to
modulate, inhibit, control, or restrain their subjective feelings and to
disguise their nonverbal expressions. The most common of these
activities is the pressure applied by the lips against each other.
Sometimes, we manipulate the muscles spontaneously, other times,
deliberately. Part of the time we observe this activity, but mostly it
is done unaware.
Very early in life we learn to use the mouth to lie about our
emotions and feelings. (False crying is the earliest, denials and lies
come not much later.) Later, we learn by imitation or by trial and error
additional ways to manipulate the muscles of the lips and those around
the mouth in order to influence deliberately our emotional processes and
those of the people observing us.
We use this knowledge "generously" in order to attract the attention
of those around us and get assistance and consideration from them; also
as a means of adapting to the emotional behavior rules of our culture;
and as a tool for the regulation of our own emotional processes. In
time, the ad hoc programs built for the activation of those behaviors,
consolidate as trashy supra-programs.
As happens with other activities often executed they become habits
and we tend to activate them automatically. Most of the time we are not
even aware that we are activating these programs. Frequently we are only
dimly aware of the temporary or permanent furrows resulting from this.
Consequently, the muscles of the mouth are very active even when we
are silent or asleep, generating many chronic and semi-chronic
constrictions of the muscles of the mouth, even when one cannot observe
any significant effect on the lips or the adjoining skin.
Sometimes, we can reverse the process and get rid of these habits,
and furrows too, by deliberately activating the automatic habits and by
consciously manipulating these chronic or semi-chronic expressions. As
those activities summon felt sensations related to the trash-program
involved, we can focus on them and enable the mending processes to work
on them intensively. Other times, we can just focus on the mouth
passively. Both ways we contribute immensely to the improvement of our
We can focus there while attending to other assignments or even when
we are focusing elsewhere. We can concentrate on feelings and sensations
there. We can also focus on the various points of the mouth in order to
capture and "domesticate" emotional supra-programs the natural
biofeedback of which is very weak - even if only slightly above the
threshold of the awareness or only subliminal.
During the last few years I have examined the effects of placing the
tongue between the upper and lower front teeth. Originally it was tested
as a measure to be taken in order to break the habit of pressing the
jaws firmly against each other. (This habit is usually a part of
trash-programs that unwittingly inhibit anger or just fail to regulate
it. Sometimes it is even expressed as grinding the teeth.)
It was found that this manipulation of the tongue activates the
defense mechanisms (regulated by innate programs that work like
reflexes) that protect the tongue from being punished by the teeth, and
keep us from seriously biting our tongue on purpose. The activation of
this reflex always causes a substantial automatic relaxation of the
It was also found that this relaxation undermines the
component of facial muscular tension, which is an essential part of many
trash-programs. By doing this, it forces the adaptation and
accommodation processes of the mind to change and mend them.
Placing the tongue between the teeth, till it gently touches the
lips, can become a "chronic" habit that induces substantial tranquility.
The best version of this act is done while the mouth is closed, with a
division of about a millimeter only between the lips, in order to avoid
(social) embarrassment. This act can be most beneficial in circumstances
in which one wants to achieve a fast reduction in the felt tension or to
enter a calmer mood - as for instance when going to sleep.
Examine now, the sensations at and around the lips and mouth. Then,
thread the tongue between the frontal teeth till it touches the
inside of a lip or a cheek. Better leave a gap of about a
millimeter between the lips to prevent competing
sensations of touch or pressure there.
Focus for a minute or two on the
sensations felt there and the changes occurring in them.
4. The muscles of the body in general
There is a whole category of sensations that are usually near the
threshold of awareness which originate in the muscles of the body. Most
of them are the result of chronic contractions or "stiffness of muscle
tissue". These, and the occasional stronger chronic sensations there,
are the result of the "criminal" activity of trash-programs. The small
minority of those sensations that do engage awareness is like the tip of
a floating iceberg seen above the water.
The majority of the sensations stemming from the muscles are the
result of the intimate relations between the supra-programs and the
muscles. Those relations consist mainly comprised of the dynamic
induction of tension in the muscle by the active programs and a natural
biofeedback supplied by them to these programs.
Many of the prominent trash-programs (that are often called
"personality", "character amour", daily habits, prolonged basic moods,
etc.) need a kind of biological feed back from the tension receptors of
the muscles for their regular activity. These muscles serve these
programs as the air serves the juggler who cannot hold all the balls he
is juggling in his hand, and as the sand at the bottom of the sea serves
for the anchors of ships.
External interventionsVarious schools of gymnastics and massage find those stiff points and
succeed in relaxing them - temporarily or nearly permanently. Many
people massage themselves intuitively in those places with similar
results. Focusers can do this intuitive massage at the same time as
focusing. They can search systematically all over the body for the most
stiff or tender muscles to treat.
These activities stop the habitual course of the dialogue between the
muscles and the ongoing ad hoc activation programs and force on them the
editing and updating of the `mending' processes. In all these contexts,
their improvement is quite easy to observe.
These activities improve the
quality of life as they free the muscles of the skeleton from too crude
use by the trash-programs, and allow them to behave in greater
harmony. Simultaneously, they improve the quality of life immensely as
they force the mending processes of the mind to treat the crippled
programs, which have just lost their physical support.
This phenomenon is the main reason for the growing popularity of the
treatment of the body by the many "physical therapies" of the various
holistic "body and soul" schools and methods. The most famous in the
West are: "Alexander", "Feldenkrise", the various schools of massage,
the Neo-Reichians and their "Bio-Energy", a few "Eastern Cults", various
types of Yoga, Reflexology, Shiatsu, etc.
Regardless their division of opinions and criticism of each other,
most of these treatments improve the body function and that of the mind
as well. One who is versed in the rationale of the various focusing
techniques can detect in the practices and the explanations of these
schools the echoes of common principles.
When one goes on a "hunting trip" in order to capture and then
domesticate trash-programs, one may find them hidden in the stiff
muscles of the skeleton or in any other "knotted" ones. One may also
catch them at the orifices and other sphincters like the mouth, eyes,
etc. These muscles are among the favorite targets of various holistic
schools - especially that of "Paula".
Whenever one interferes in the "dialogue" between the trash-programs
and the muscles, the latter usually respond with discernible sensations
in various places simultaneously. Focusing on these felt sensations
forces on the trash-programs involved, an intensive work out by the
Beware of two dangers: The first is a physical
one. Like any touch or pressure you or others apply to any place in your
body, you have to be sure that it does not damage your health. Whenever
in doubt or in pain ask the advice of the experts and professionals into
whose field this part falls.
The other is an emotional one. Whenever trash-programs are provoked,
it is better to be prepared to receive more than one asks for. The
interference in the dialogue between muscle and programs can upset "a
whole apple cart". For instance, one of my trainees tended to get the
introductory signs of an "anxiety attack" each time he tried to work on
a specific muscle. Only months of careful and sensitive recurrent work
on it solved the problem, with out provoking a fully fledged anxiety
Freezing the activity of the muscles of the bodyThe use of the muscles in the service of the emotional system is not
restricted to the focusing on spontaneous sensations arousing in them or
on those achieved by touch and the manipulation of the nape.
We can also
use for this purpose the voluntarily-controlled-muscles, with which we
can manipulate the system of activation programs in many other
ways. Frequently, we can change what is going on in the system of
emotional supra-programs by an intentional activation of muscles - with
or without added focusing.
In daily life, nearly every one of us uses, from time to time, the
stretching of the body as a means of heightening wakefulness, vigilance,
rigor or vitality. Usually, as in the case of yawning, we sense their
spontaneous arrival and only manipulate their intensity in a voluntary
or semi-voluntary mode. Nearly everyone strains the muscles in order to
reduce the impact of bad news, or unpleasant sensations like those
experienced in the dentist's chair.
Everyone can use music to change mood by singing or listening to
material with the right shade of emotion. Everyone can voluntarily
change the pattern of muscle activity (and constriction) that is part of
the emotional climate of the moment.
For instance: straightening the
back helps one to recover from a melancholic mood; voluntary relaxation
of the skeletal muscles dampens anxiety; the relaxation of the neck
muscles (especially those of the nape of the neck) weakens vigilance and
tension; the relaxation of the facial muscles weakens any ongoing
emotion - good or bad; deliberate manipulation of the pattern in which
the facial muscles are constricted ("pulling faces") changes the quality
of the feelings and mood of the moment - at least for the duration of
From all the various options open for actively inducing mood changes,
manipulation of the facial muscles is the one most commonly used. Nearly
all of us use, from time to time, the constriction of the lips in order
to squash the explosion of a soaring anger. Many, if not all of us, try,
and usually succeed, to erase the smirk or smugness from our face - when
it is uncalled-for or when we have to continue in a more serious or
intentional activity. Most common is the habit of using the modulating
activity of partial relaxation of facial muscles, for blurring or
camouflaging the facial expression that goes with an emotion or feeling.
The above activities are usually done automatically - unconsciously
or only with a very slight awareness. However, quite often, after a
spontaneous start or even without one, they continue as intentional
activities. The aim of these activities is twofold: a) to adapt the
expression of emotion to the cultural norm and to other practical
considerations b) to "trim" the felt sensation of the emotion of the
time to a more bearable measure. For instance, to diminish the intensity
of laughter that starts to hurt or that of crying that starts to
The focusing on the sensations that accompanies the voluntary
activation of the muscles while they are used to manipulate the
emotional climate, enhances their effect. This concentrated attention on
sources of natural biofeedback - those that are above and those that are
below the threshold of awareness - while using them, helps us to find
the trash-programs that make the previously wished for change,
Recommended activationsOften we find ourselves engaged in a repeated "nervous movement":
rhythmic movement of one of the feet; touching or manipulation of the
hair or any other part of the body; "small habitual games" like playing
with bits or parts of the clothes, or with small articles; etc.
in minority cases, when we do it intentionally to alleviate the affect
of boredom, these activities are the spontaneous semi-automatic products
By freezing our ongoing movements of that time, we
prevent the smooth operation of the ongoing trash-program of which they
are a part. We force these programs "to seek help" from the brain
processes that are in charge of aiding "helpless ad hoc programs" to
adapt to the unexpected. (In the terminology of J. Piajet: we force on
them adaptation and accommodation).
If we focus our attention on the sensations that are aroused as a
result of the freezing of a repeated movement - their "cry for help" -
we draw the attention of the mending programs to a larger extent. Thus,
we add another "hunting ground" to the collection of processes used for
"catching" trash-programs. As a by product, with the use of this tactic
we can free ourselves temporarily, at least, from an unwanted habit.
If you want to rid yourself of a habit of this kind or wish to use it
for focusing, do the following:
For instance, if you want to stop biting your nails (or only to
improve slightly the trash-programs involved), do the following:
- Start the execution of the unwanted habit (fingering the nose or
nail biting for instance) voluntarily - even when you do not feel the
- While executing the habit, freeze in its course the most essential
movement of the behavior pattern.
- Start the focusing activity on the strange sensations that emerge
in your body, or in the muscles involved - if you do not observe any.
When one is working on this kind of a project, one can use both
tactics: activating the pattern voluntarily some times, and "catching"
it when activated spontaneously.
- bring the most preferred finger tip to your mouth.
- Catch the nail with your teeth, and before biting it, freeze the movements involved.
- Start to pay attention to the various sensations of that moment -
especially those of the muscles of the jaws - both to those that are
above and those that are below the threshold of awareness. (Using this
procedure, a few of my trainees succeeded in getting rid of this habit.)
5. The common excitations and itching
The skin, which is the main boundary and interface between our body
and the world, supplies us with a never ending stream of input and data.
Part of the data is natural biofeedback about the pressure applied to
various surfaces by our body weight - due to the pull of gravitation -
during movement or rest. Part of the data is the result of physical and
chemical interactions between us and the world - like insect bites and
However, most of the itching and scratching - the single and the
recurrent ones - are not of this origin. They have nothing to do with
"real" agents. We feel them time and again without finding any apparent
source. For most of us, the overwhelming majority of skin irritations
are without external cause and they are generally the result of the
active ad hoc trash-programs.
Most of the itchings emerge as if randomly at various locations of
the body. Some are like frequent visitors or guests which arrive at the
same places time and again - like those that make us scratch at specific
locations of the head, rub the nose, etc. Part of these result in the
habitual scratching or touching (mostly absent-mindedly) of a certain
point, which are the peculiar characteristics of various individuals.
However, though most of the itching and scratching is haphazard, we
can use them systematically as "hunting grounds" for trash-programs. We
can add an intentional one to the spontaneous minimal attention we give
those phenomena. We can fall into the habit of focusing on these
itchings for prolonged periods of time or just to add a few seconds each
time they occur. We can even focus on the places where they used to
emerge and cause them to appear. By doing so, we can clear or at least
quicken, the mending of many of the ongoing trash-programs involved.
The focusing on the itching can also help us to refrain from
scratching at inconvenient places or times. This result is most
important when the itching is in places we cannot (or will not) reach
permanently or temporarily. For instance when the itching occurs at
times when our hands are engaged or dirty; when the itching is in a
recuperating wound; when it occurs at intimate locations when in formal
circumstances; etc. Experienced focusers suffer less while this itching
lasts and they also succeed in curtailing it.
Whenever the itching occurs, whatever the intensity and duration, and
no matter what the social circumstances - it is recommended always to
delay the scratching for a few seconds. The few seconds dedicated to the
focusing on these usually short-lived sensations before we scratch or
turn our minds to other things are frequently most rewarding.
It is especially so when one is in the first stages of building the
sensate focusing habit. This, like the focusing on sensations that are
near the threshold of awareness, is one of the easiest ways to put
attention resources to good use. It converts unused or misused resources
to the long term betterment of the quality of life. Those felt
sensations are very seldom too intense or too long-lasting and very
seldom need the treatment of the emergency measures.
6. The general survey
Whenever we want to invest unengaged brain resources of a moment in
an act that will surely improve our quality of life in general, without
being keen to work on something specific, we can scan the whole body
systematically or haphazardly.
When we pause somewhere to focus on, the
natural biofeedback of that place is enhanced. This may result in the
emerging of a discernible sensation previously not attended to or even
one that has been subliminal before, and if it seems worth while, we can
focus on it. If nothing emerges from the systematic search, not even at
the face or vocal cords, one can always shift to the slight spontaneous
tension of the muscles.
Therefore, if (or when) you are convinced that you are benefiting
significantly from the use of the sensate-focusing technique, you will
be able to allocate unused or misused resources of the brain to this
activity, whenever and wherever you wish - even if the desire for it
lasts only a few seconds. You will be able to do it whenever you prefer
the new "game" rather than the current activity.
Experience of many focusers shows that one can dedicate to this
activity surplus attention resources like those existing while one is
engaged in "small talk", routine waiting and traveling, waiting at bus
stations, long journeys, situations that do not tax the concentration
and any other situations not needing all conscious attention. It also
point to a strong connection between this kind of investment of
resources, and a decline in the excessive tensions, softening of the
voice and the relaxation of over-tense facial muscles.
This kind of focusing is like a savings account to be used for rainy
days. It forces the system of activation programs to invest in the
improvement of ongoing programs, more than the needs of the ongoing
activities call for. Later, when most needed, the improved programs will
act in a more efficient manner. Usually one can not point at a
connection between a specific focusing of this kind and a specific gain.
However, periods in which one does a lot of this kind of activity always
culminates in a discernible improvement.
This activity is most recommended for all periods of time when one
has no better target for the surplus brain resources. When one does not
have a "project" to focus on (or is not in the mood for investing in an
existing one) and there is no other significant sensation which draws
attention - one can allocate part of one's resources to this
activity. You will have the option of doing this whenever you are bored
or tired from the activity of the moment or when involved in an activity
that does not need all your attention.
We have more senses than the somewhat diffuse sense(s) of the body
tissues - like touch, pressure, pain, irritation etc. The most prominent
are hose that enable us to see and hear. We can at one and the same time
attend to one or a few of them together, simultaneously with the
attention paid to the felt sensations fed to the awareness.
For instance, we can attend to the sensations of the face and the
vocal cords - together with the input coming from the eyes and ears
while singing. We can do the same when a muscle is in spasm or a painful
While we emit sounds: speak, moan, etc. we can attend simultaneously
to the natural biofeedback embedded in the quality of the voice, and to
the one supplied by the feelings and sensations in the throat. While
shaving or putting on make-up, we can attend to the sensations of the
face (or to the subliminal ones there), and simultaneously, look in the
mirror at the target we are focusing on, etc.
In these cases and their like, in which the natural biofeedback comes
through two or more channels, the expedition of the mending process is
much more than doubling the regular rate.
Experienced focusers can devote a large part of their attention to
this focusing, in parallel to most other activities. Many of the
focusers find this the best remedy for intensely boring situations.
Some of the focusers (especially those who previously practiced
certain methods of "Meditation") reported the benefit and even pleasure
derived from a "general tour" of the body - especially before going to
sleep or just after getting up. They observed that among the more
beneficial places were those which usually receive the unpleasant
"announcements and summons" of the emotional trash-programs. The most
beneficial results were derived from scanning the facial muscles and the
Very often, while we are scanning the body and focusing at a point or
place, the sensation there weakens and recedes very fast to a subliminal
level of intensity, or to one only slightly above the threshold.
The habit of focusing on a specific region which is frequently
troubled - in spite of the disappearance of that sensation from our
awareness, i.e. "returning to the crime area" whenever the time permits,
is also most profitable. It hastens the improvement of the
trash-programs which cause the problem.
The habit of focusing on subliminal sensations and those slightly
above the threshold of awareness, can be applied to other places and
points in the body. Among those, of special importance is the focusing
on points and places where you usually feel the strongest sensations and
those related to specific harmful trash-programs.
It is worthwhile to continue focusing there for a few seconds more
before changing the point of focus, especially if the said sensation was
very short-lived and connected to a very trashy program. Even the
focusing on the place of a sensation that just faded (or shifted), still
enhance the impact of the natural biofeedback it send to the
center. This "residual" focusing has great value as it has a special
quality - it signals to the involved supra-programs that they have
changed for the better.
Thus, instead of the usual negative messages about the unpleasantness
of the situations - which are relatively hard to learn from - there is,
for a change, a positive one. It was found through systematic research
of learning and concept building, that humans and animals derive more
benefit from positive information that says this is right, try it again,
than from one which says - it is wrong, do something else.
7. Focusing on the emotional expressions of others
In addition to that which you gain from focusing on your voice and
your face you can gain even more when you do the same to the voices and
faces of other people. This kind of focusing can, especially when you
cannot or do not try too hard to organize your impressions verbally,
activate within you specific trash-programs that parallel those of the
These trash-programs that are a kind of echo*, are related to the
emotional climate of the other, as expressed by the melody of his voice
and his facial expression. The activated trashy programs create in you a
felt sensation that is directly relevant to the said trashy
programs. Thus, by the added focusing on your emerging felt sensation
you can catch them, as if you grip them by the hairs or a handle, and
force on them the processes and programs that are in charge of updating
This process is the main channel for the automatic interpersonal (and
inter- animal) communication of emotion. It is used for the immediate
and prompt transfer of huge quantities of information that is extremely
difficult, and even impossible, to verbalize. This kind of communication
can bypass most of the trash-programs of ours and of others, which
hinder voluntary emotional communication. Consequently, listening to and
looking at the other person creates in us a kind of "emotional echo"
usually called "Empathy".
- This can (and does happen) because of the perceptual components of the
emotional system, that deal with the task of perceiving the emotional
expressions of the other. These components are very thrifty. They use
the same brain processes and subsystems as those which create our own
subjective experience of emotions and help sensations feelings, moods,
etc. enter the awareness. Thus, the natural non verbal intuitive
perception of the natural expressions of the other, creates in us a felt
sensation which is like an echo of that of the other.
This kind of focusing opens an important channel that enables us to
get in touch with contents that are seldom, if ever, available to
intensive processing. Sometimes it makes us "stumble" on crucial
trash-programs that were not available for focusing on before.
This is so as much of information and emotionally loaded contents are
prevented from becoming available to our awareness. They cannot break
through and become available to the awareness (or pre-awareness)
processes freely on their own merit. Many of them cannot pass through
the channel of the more conscious deliberate and intentional cognitive
processes because of our "defences". It seems that a large amount of
emotional information can bypass the reluctant gate-keepers (the
cover-programs), only by "hitchhiking" on the back of the emotional
expression of the other.
These intrusions enrich the diversity of trash-programs that are
subject to the amendment processes of updating, adaptation and
accommodation. As a result of the above perceptual processes, whenever
we perceive the facial expressions or the intonation and other qualities
of the voice of the other person, the perceptual processes "take us on a
short trip". However, if the circumstances are ripe, it can even take us
on a long one - to the emotional whereabouts of the other and beyond.
While on this trip our trash-programs, which are related to the
emotional climate of the other, are summoned to the fore and are forced
to expose or even surrender themselves to the mending processes of the
updating supra-programs. After a few encounters like this, with the
mending operation of these supra-programs, they lose a substantial part
of their `trashiness' and become available to the regular processes of
mending and updating.
Sometimes this is the easiest way to pull out
trash-programs that are under heavy layers of cover-programs. It seems
that sometimes this is the only way open. The focusing on the emotional
expressions of the others is also recommended to those whose
trash-programs chronically weaken the emotional expressions of their
faces or voices.
In contrast to sensations and feelings that are aroused from within
and are available very often, those that are aroused due to our
perception of the others are sometimes of singular occurrence only. You
are not advised to focus compulsively on those that come from within as
they will come again and again.
But, it is highly recommended not to
miss any emotion, sensation, or felt sensation that stems from attending
to the other person. It is especially so if he, or his expression, is
not frequently met.
The importance of these "imported" subjects for
focusing is the fact of our not being able to deal with them without the
help of other people. Once we encounter them, we cannot be sure when or
if we will be able to get in touch with these protected trash-programs
Attending to the voices and facial expressions of others can be
another part of our "saving program". Whenever we are not too busy and,
there are faces and/or voices around, we can scan them and through this,
give a quick "once over" to a lot of our own trash-programs.
Sometimes, focusing on the expressions of the other, activates within
us an intense or important target for focusing, as well as opening new
"hunting ground(s)". Sometimes the focusing arouses in us a strong
feeling of identification with the other (called empathy by the
professionals). When this occurs, they are always worth a long focusing
The contribution of listening to the voices of others and looking at
their faces does not only enrich the available content of focusing and
the emotional communication one emits, but also enriches our whole
emotional life. As the emotional supra-programs are used simultaneously
for internal and external communication, the enhancement of the input
processes dramatically changes the workings of the system.
The focusing on other people also makes our social life more lively
so long as we are sensitive enough to their feedback - verbal and non
verbal - about the influence (comfort or discomfort) our activity has on
them. If we do not exaggerate direct eye contact, the enhanced attention
to the others and their feedback to us, will usually encourage the
social climate to become warmer and the relationship with those around
us to become more cordial.
Sometimes, intentionally or unintentionally, the other person can
take you on a trip to a most unpleasant place or to a very turbulent
emotional climate. Whenever you find yourself taken to an unwanted place
(or ride), just stop. Curtail the surplus incoming data. You can always
avert your gaze, or stop listening, or start to think about something
else, or use any other of the emotional attenuation tricks each of us
has learnt during socialization.
Specific (and general) suggestions, questions, and other positive (or
negative) feedback of readers and of new trainers are welcome. Just use the E-Mail link
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What are the emotions
The activation programs
Ad hoc activation programs
The emotional Supra-Programs
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