For years it escaped me why there is such an extreme effort to reward ratio to the majority of inner work methods. This is true for psychological methods but I have experienced many more shifts through experiential psychological methods than meditative ones. I could do meditation all day and possibly feel more present, but at other times, something would just shift inside myself with the slightest of attention and curiosity.
I have practiced all of the mainstream bodywork methods of the east and west. I never felt subtle energy systems from qigong or yoga techniques. Western approaches such as Feldenkrais, Reichian bodywork, or Bioenergetics helped me to become more embodied but still let me without that something deeper I was after. But I did experience changes and releases that felt like those supposed subtle energy systems more from embodied psychological shifts and realizations than any bodywork or breathwork method.
I have also spent many years returning my attention back to direct bodily sensation and mindfully to my senses. This has helped to orient myself and feel that I am an embodied being but there always seemed like a missing next step.
It came to me when I rediscovered Focusing that change truly occurs through the felt sense.
Much of my confusion was brought on by focusing on other aspects of my experience, thinking that they would lead to a deeper unfolding and shifts. Essentially, I was not wrong but partially barking up the wrong tree. For example, I feel myself sitting on this couch with my legs up on it and typing with my computer on my lap. I am pretty mindfully in this sensation of myself in this moment. The fallacy arises when I expect there to be something deeper in this direct bodily sensation that will eventually be transformative.
The felt sense may tend to be an embodied sensation but it is something else entirely. It is that something in your experience of which has a subtle taste of deeper meaning and potential to reveal more. For example, I was driving home from work earlier this evening. I returned my attention to the general sense of things and what was going on in my life context. It was amorphous for a good fifteen minutes, but eventually a sensation of something tense, or twisted in me going up to my throat from my chest upwards. Following this, it seemed to reveal that it was a feeling of tiredness from having been sleep deprived today. And I usually feel this when tired.
I also was observing a general sense of something earlier, which came up as a sense of uncomplicatedness in general. This contrasted with the sense this morning of being complicated. It felt like every sector of my life was complicated. I came to this shift after a day of some good sessions with clients that were relaxing and a sense that I can deal with my life situation as it is and let it slowly unfold.
If I were to simply attend to something mindful like my feet all day, or my breath, I would not have focused my attention to my felt sense and stayed with it to nurture its unfoldment. Simply attending to or being mindful of the present is just the beginning. The way to get out of the head.
Attending to that general, "on the tip of your tongue," not yet describable, feeling that there is something there with meaning is the direct route to transformation on all levels.
I feel like mankind's psychological, bodily, and meditative methods of growth through the history of civilization has been the fuel, but Focusing or other methods like it (eg: Inquiry) are the spark.