I received a question by email yesterday, and thought my response was relevant enough to the general discussion that I should include it here.
On Jul 21, 2013, at 6:21 AM, Adam Cole wrote:
A good start. I’ve definitely experienced this in work with a high-level Tai Chi teacher. He moved his arm in an arc and I couldn’t stop it.
What I’d like to see next are some steps for a process for learning how not to inhibit the movement. (I didn’t want to say, “Steps for learning how to inhibit the inhibit!”)
That’s a great questions, Adam, one that I find harder to address satisfactorily than you might think. It goes to the core of my dilemma about what I want to communicate about Refocusing, and about how to do that. It forces me to think about that dilemma, and try to articulate it, and that’s good! Continue reading What does Refocusing teach?
The Conventional and Refocusing Paradigms posit very different underlying realities; they explain the experience of living in and interacting with the world in very different ways. The Conventional Paradigm posits that the physical world really is as we experience it, made up of physical stuff with mass and density that responds to forces of various kinds in measurable and predictable ways. It explains my experience as being sourced in the external events I encounter and objects and forces I engage with during those events. If I find myself unable to move when Bob is holding me in place, or feel pain when he is twisting my arm, the Conventional Paradigm tells me that that is because of the physical characteristics of Bob, of me, and of our physical interaction.
The Refocusing Paradigm, on the other hand, suggests that our experience of physical events is at least partly illusory, created not by the physical causation to which we normally attribute it, but by automatic unconscious habits that create the illusion of that physical causation, in the same way that the programming rules in a video game create the illusion of physical causation within the game. At first glance, this sounds absurd, because the Conventional Paradigm seems so strongly validated by both personal experience and societal consensus. But if we look more carefully, cracks begin to emerge in the supporting evidence; it is not as rock-solid as it first seemed. Refocusing is a way of exploring those cracks, and the Refocusing Paradigm, as I am striving to articulate it, provides one plausible explanation. Continue reading Acting by Activating Impulses
If you are visiting this blog for the first time, you might find it more accessible if you start at the beginning of the Refocusing series.
My last post described a “theatrical perspective” in which I distinguished between my roles as a character in the long-running drama of life and as the actor portraying that character. I’m now going to explore another formulation organized around the concept of a paradigm, as a collection of shared beliefs, values, and ways of perceiving that determine how those sharing that paradigm shape and understand their experience of the aspects of reality that the paradigm addresses. I’m drawing from Thomas Kuhn’s usage of that term in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, though the subject matter I’m dealing with is somewhat fuzzier than Kuhn’s. Continue reading Toward a Refocusing Paradigm
Refocusing can be difficult to explain coherently. It revolves around non-ordinary experiences that many people would not believe possible without personally experiencing them, and sometimes not even then. It is based on ideas that seem to violate everyday logic and common sense, and explanations that ignore or violate both our scientific and cultural understandings of physics and how the world works. Nonetheless, I find it relatively easy to convey Refocusing face to face, when I can share the non-ordinary experience that Refocusing makes possible. I can judge how well they are “getting” those experiences as we go along, and reshape the experiences and my explanations as necessary to fit their understanding. Continue reading The Actor and the Character
If you are visiting this blog for the first time, it will probably be more accessible if you start at the beginning of the Refocusing series.
What you experience as a single action is often a cascade — a rapid sequence of choices and actions that you perceptually collapse into that single action. Let’s explore that cascade to see how its components fit together, and what consequences they can have for the result of your action. Not noticing the cascade as it happens can lead you to do things quite different from what you think you are doing, without realizing it. We’ll examine the simple action of bending your elbow to lift your arm, and see what can happen when an external impediment gets in the way. This discussion will make more sense if you actually do it as you follow along, rather than just reading about it. Continue reading Exploring the cascade