The Power of Touch
For many people the experience of touch can trigger anxiety due to past trauma or the interpretation of expectations. Sensate Focus is an approach used with couples that includes a sequence of touching exercises with your partner that is done for your own interest, rather than trying to make it pleasurable for your partner. The “toucher” is instructed to just notice the sensations; temperature, pressure and texture, that arise when touching their partner. When the mind wanders or anxiety arises, the “toucher” re-directs their attention to the tactile sensations experienced in the moment. Does this sound familiar?
The “touchee” is instructed to just experience the sensations as they arise and similarly to return to the tactile sensations when the mind wanders. After twenty minutes, partners switch roles. Both partners are cultivating present moment awareness, experiencing their body and their partner’s with a sense of curiosity and care and dissolving any goal orientation. In case you are wondering, the sequence of touching in Sensate Focus begins with safe zones and over fourteen weeks becomes more intimate. Sensate Focus has transformed many couples’ relationships and the ability to inhabit the body in a healthy way.
This week, we turn to the practice of Body Scan, which enables us to integrate body and mind, cultivate presence and bear witness to all the sensations that arise within the very house we live in, our own body. Rest assured that we will not be practicing Sensate Focus together. However, if you are inspired, you might want to to try out this practice at home by touching safe zones within your own body as described above or perhaps your partner’s hand or arm in the spirit of curiosity and care. Touch is our most primal sense and is a gateway to human connection.
May all beings everywhere, without exception, take delight in the integration of body and mind and human connection that comes with the power of touch.
Your friends at CMP