Nurturing A New Interiority For Serious Seekers:
Exploring the Body's Role Within Spiritual Development
Presentation on BioSpirituality by Rev. Peter A. Campbell Ph.D. at 11th FISS (Focusing Institute Summers School 2016) at Joshua Tree, California, USA.
A Brief Introductory Reflection
Peter's goal in this presentation will be to open a window for our viewers into an unfolding area of human experiencing. Because of Gene Gendlin’s important contribution to psychology, it has been recognized that meaning is not only thought within the mind, but also physically experienced within the body’s own way of felt-sensing as well. Just as the mind can think, our physical organism recognizes meaning viscerally within a physically-felt way.
This capacity for our bodies to access felt meaning invites us to recognize that while cognition and thinking are essential for human survival, they offer but one way of understanding both ourselves and our often changing environments. This leads us into a world of words that heighten the mystery of what it all means to be human.
Words like hunch, intuition, inspiration, revelation unfold a universe of surprising possibilities over which we have little, if any, control. Often, they draw from within each of us a sense of wonder and gratitude, commitment, determination and very creative responses. The paradox, of course, is that we often have absolutely no control over such surprising and creative moments.
They arrive as gifts, moments of grace. Our gratitude can then tell us as much about ourselves - our needs and weaknesses - as it does through a nagging sense that there is so much more in our lives than we can possibly ever handle! Sheer gratitude opens our bodily-felt way of acknowledging that at the edges of our weaknesses and forgetfulness, our sorrows, pain and infirmity there still lies something more. It calls us forward, much as Gene’s forward movement through the experiencing process unfolds with the interaction between symbol and felt-sensing.
Peter remarks that he senses that religion loses its way when the body’s knowing is not acknowledged, cherished and effectively incorporated within the surprise of spiritual development. Gratitude offers the body’s response to the gifted surprise of grace.