This 7-minute video clip is part of the FAQ on the embodied mindful pause. See transcript below the video.
You can use Active Pause* during the session, as a way to look at things a little bit differently. To have a chance to break that non-stop talking, “bwwwww” into “hmm”, and have that reflexive “aha” moment.
I want to talk about the difference between what I would call the natural pause and what happens in this process, Active Pause*, and contrast the two. And I want to make it very clear that Active Pause* is contrived. It is an artificial process, and it is in no way something that is intended to tell people: “I’m going to teach you to pause and replace the natural pause”.
When I use the word “contrived”, it’s not a way to put it down. I’m obviously very interested in this approach. But I just want to be very forceful in making the distinction between the natural pause and Active Pause*.
I will start by talking a little bit about what the natural pause is. The natural pause is something you’ve all seen, with at least some clients. It’s those moments when the client either listens to you, or simply says something, and then there’s that moment of “hmmm”… You notice my body language when I say this “hmmm”, I’m looking up. Or it could be “hmmm” while looking down… Or with the head slightly tilted. Something that’s going to give you a sense that the client taking a moment, in a way kind of stopping in their tracks, and then directing their attention inside, with their gaze no longer on you necessarily. Or, if it’s on you, it’s no longer intently looking, but it’s more of a vague gaze, so they’re in a different space, they’re looking inside. They’re absorbing what they just said, or what they’ve just heard, and it’s not an intellectual process of analyzing. But it’s something like holding this and that, and gazing at both at the same time, and taking some time to see how this can coexist. And letting things happen. And that’s where the “aha” moment comes.
So the natural pause is that ”hmm”… that “aha” moment. And it’s a wonderful thing. By all means, we love this moment when it happens. We love it personally, we love it in our clients, and we want to encourage our clients to develop this thing, and their own rhythm, their own way of doing it. It’s not something we’re going to tell them “step 1, 2, 3” in order to formalize it. It’s a very natural process that we want to encourage.
The analogy that I have is: If you see somebody drinking, or you have yourself the experience of drinking from a bottle of water: You put the bottle this way. As you tilt the bottle up, there’s a flow of water coming in. But there’s something very complex that happens in your throat, maybe in your tongue, I’m not quite sure exactly how it works… You instinctively regulate the flow of water. You’re both open enough to let some water come in, but closed enough to not drown in that water. It’s a very natural process of regulating the flow of water as you drink, you know that it doesn’t take years of practice, little kids do it. So the natural pause falls under the category of this innate ability to regulate experience.
In contrast, Active Pause* is a contrived experience, again not saying it in a derogatory way, but to contrast it with the natural pause. When we use Active Pause*, we actually use it as a gateway for people to pay attention to things. So it can be useful for people who are unable to pause, or unable to go inside… It’s a gateway to actually signal the existence of such moments. At a very basic level, it alerts them to something that they can then find their own way of finding in real life. It takes that moment.
But it’s also useful for people who are quite able to find their own rhythm of natural pause. What it does is, it introduces different elements that can be explored separately. So it’s that structure of simply pausing and descending from thoughts. More into sensory perception. What happens in the body. Paying attention to that. It then allows people to do that, and also breathe, and notice what’s happening, within a framework for that experience of slowing down, of sensing and not just thinking. In addition, it provides a framework for the experience of sensing as embodied experience as I mentioned before. Because you’re touching, and you’re feeling what happens in your body as you touch. So it introduces all these different dimensions that are not part of, or certainly not conscious part, of ordinary experience for many people.
* Please note that, at the time the video was made, I was referring to the Embodied Mindful Pause as Active Pause.