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January 7, 2020 Focusing in Focus

We generally talk about thinking as collecting facts and information, learning existing concepts, memorizing, reading, studying something that others have already discovered, instructing, passing on information. Let’s consider this as true from a certain perspective.

At the Edge, Thinking is different. How can the information for thinking come from something that is already known to us in a vague, fuzzy way?  How can we know before we can think or say?

Gendlin’s Philosophy of the Implicit explains how our bodies ARE our situation. We need to look at what he means by the “body” in a different way. If we enter from the direction about breathing, as unity or interaction first, we can also look at our body from that perspective – our body and environment living as one event. Take a moment to get the sense of this. It might appear very complex, but it is actually more natural than what our intellect usually takes in. 

In this way the body is not just what’s inside the skin, but also the whole situation in which it is involved with its environment. It is not surprising then that the body actually knows the whole situation. The breathing is air and lungs and all activity, the tree is ground and nutrients and sunshine and rain. The bush is an Aborigine and the rocks and animals and winds and colours. It is ongoing interaction so rich, profound, intricate, highly ordered, precise and interesting. This natural interaction already exists, we don’t make it up. It still functions even if we are not aware of it, are not interested to find out, if we disregard the signs, or if we cannot understand. Just as the tree knows how to be this particular tree from the inside, though it hasn’t a clue that it is classified as a maple or a gum tree. 

Unlike the tree, we humans can think how we are from the outside in. We are categorized as –single or married, sick or healthy, American or European – endless lists of labels are applied to us. From the Unit model perspective we experience ourselves as part of a category; separate and isolated units interacting with other separate and isolated particles. That is true – from that perspective. Unfortunately we stop or are stopped at such classifications.

If we enter from the whole event first, as I described in The Cradle stories, then we are inherently in contact with unseparated multiplicity in our situation -the whole reality. We can actually know ourselves from inside out. The body is activity. Felt sensing IS, the way in which body and situation are one.  This kind of knowing is more than what we can access with our intellect alone. This is why with the felt sense we can “think” differently. We can think from there and dialogue between our intellect and the felt sense, because the body event knows the whole situation and reveals it gradually at the Edge.