Advanced PhD Seminar: Attention, Presence, and Embodiment in Relationship
School of Consciousness and Transformation EWP 6378 3.00
When you are deeply present with others, there is a communion that goes beyond words—a felt connection that touches, enlivens, and inspires. There are moments when you are fully immersed with a project, and the mind is quiet and clear. From a cognitive viewpoint these experiences are hard to explain, but from the standpoint of the body, they can be described in simple terms: as different attention postures within the body. This course will introduce somatic phenomenology, an embodied way of describing and entering states of consciousness. With the language of somatic phenomenology, it becomes possible to describe states of consciousness in ways that may be useful for research in integral and transpersonal approaches to psychology, and complex states are easier access and to use. From a cognitive point of view, attention is concentrating awareness on some part of the available information. Yet this definition focuses only on where attention is directed, rather than where it comes from in the body. From an embodied stance, attention is not just a cognitive process—it is the one who is having a cognitive process; it is you, in a profound and direct way. Where attention sits in the body-- that is, where and how you inhabit your body --changes the state of consciousness; each state can be described as an attention posture, or a unique way of inhabiting the body with your awareness. The course will include theoretical orientation as well as experiential work in cultivating states of quiet mental focus, including practices for resting silently in meditation. It will offer ways to understand and use interpersonal boundaries as structures within one's personal presence in a way that supports healthy relationship connection. In addition, it will provide tools for accessing and cultivating the qualities of interpersonal presence that makes for deep connections with others.