The following are the opening paragraphs of Mary Hendricks Gendlin’s speech about ‘Focusing as a Force for Peace: The Revolutionary Pause’:
“Focusing is a force for peace because it frees people from being manipulated by external authority, cultural roles, ideologies and the internal oppression of self-attacking and shame. This freeing has to do with an ability to pause the on-going situation and create a space in which a felt sense can form.
“When we know how to focus we refuse to take ourselves or any other person as merely an instance of a culturally defined category or group. We don’t say, ‘I am good, you are bad.’ Or, ‘I am a wife and mother’ as though this defined the total of who I am. Or ‘You are the doctor, I am the patient’ as though our interaction would then be governed only by the meanings of those roles. Or ‘I am a Christian or a Moslem’ as though the ritual forms would then exhaustively define my spiritual life. We know there is always a rich detailed intricacy, a ‘more’ in each person’s experience.”
Mary Hendricks Gendlin was the Executive Director of the Focusing Institute. She was in so many ways the heart and soul of the Institute, alongside her husband Gene.