Direct Experience

Direct Experience

Thinking about an experience and sensing it aren’t the same. An Odoki Method practitioner needs to give particular attention to keeping a client in direct experience.

A simple exercise to demonstrate this. Open one hand, flat. Press onto the palm with the thumb from the other hand. What do you notice?

Do you think about it? “I’m pressing my hand” or do you simply experience something? Perhaps even something stupidly simple but really hard to put words to?

This is direct experience. The human brain classifies experiences and presents these classifications as thought. Thoughts about something are not direct experiences of it. In fact, they prevent us from actually experiencing it.

The practitioner must watch out for the way the client speaks. Particularly, if they say things like, “I think …”, we reply with, “Thank you, I’m more interested in what you notice happening…”

How an Odoki Method practitioner engages with a client is incredibly important to the success of the method.

For this, let us draw a distinction between “teaching” and “consulting”.

Firstly, let it be said that these are attitudes, not roles. Whilst we will express a major preference for “consulting”, this does not mean teachers are in any way bad (quite the opposite actually), nor that there aren’t scenarios when “teaching” is appropriate. What is said here is said just for use with the Odoki Method, although teachers might find it useful in other contexts too.

When we “teach”, we ask others to come into our world. “Come listen to me, and try and understand my curriculum”. This puts the onus on the student to draw personal connections with the material presented, to work out how it is relevant for themselves. When working in groups, it is extremely hard to avoid this.

When we “consult”, we go into another’s world. We ask them, “How can my experience and skill help you?” In asking this, we need to then actively listen to what they are saying - and take the lead from them as to where we go. There are a set of exercises that are commonly used with the method, and some degree of suggested order for these exercises, but the practitioner needs to adapt which exercises they use based upon what they find from the client.

For example, we might start an exercise designed to help someone handle resistance to an experience, only to find they aren’t resisting. In which case we would need to make a rapid adjustment in approach. We have discovered our original exercise is no longer relevant. This adjustment can be seamless - the client may never know that an adjustment happened.