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focusing is not a thing, extract

What do we mean when we say 'thing'?


A thing is characterised by being boundaried, having a particular identity, name and set of defining characteristics which separate it from other things, hence it has some kind of solidity and unchangingness in its nature. According to Gendlin's Process Model, however, as well as much of Eastern philosophy, isolated 'things' cannot, ultimately, exist.


The Philosophy of the Implicit, as most fully explicated in the Process Model (Gendlin, 1997) works from the principle 'interaction first'. This principle radically posits that no essentially separate entities exist. There are only interacting processes. Separate entities, as we know them, are conceptual derivations from patterns of interaction. These patterns range from basic biological and chemical processes to complex psychological ones; they meet, interaffect, may partially stop, becoming blocked, or continue slightly differently. Our living, thinking and speaking are a complex, naturally and responsively ordered, mass of processes, each implicitly containing all the others in what Gendlin calls 'the implicit intricacy' or 'unseparated multiplicity'. These processes started from the beginning of the universe, going on, crossing, blocking, starting again, interaffecting, in a huge constellation of activity according to the ev-ev principle that everything affects everything.


The Unit model explains how units may be lifted out of this 'implicit intricacy'. The units which are intentionally lifted out are then to be manipulated, for certain purposes, against the background of an imaginary space (a kind of bracketing of the implicit intricacy). Such purposes are mainly technological or transactional, involving definition, identification, comparison, evaluation, exchange, buying and selling. The unit model is indispensible - we can't build a plane or a computer using quantum physics alone. While quantum mechanics also arguably contains objects, such as particles and waves, they are of a shifting nature, depending on the experimental conditions. The laws of quantum mechanics do not cease to apply when we're building a plane, they just apply on a different scale.


Focusing is a special case, situated precisely between the implicit intricacy and the unit model, as a kind of mediator, a creative motion, between.



What do we mean when we say focusing?


Focusing may be understood, like everything in nature, as having two sides, or being composed of two elements. The first is actively following steps, performing a procedure, as in the classical six steps of focusing - although, as I will investigate later, these do not have to be followed in order for something we can sensibly call focusing to take place. The steps involve clearing a space, allowing a felt sense to form in the body, finding a handle word for it, resonating between the word and the sense, asking it questions, receiving answers, and thanking.


The second element, in fact holding the essence of focusing, is the allowing of a felt sense of a situation, something not yet articulated yet very present, to come, and a situation to carry forward. This coming of a felt sense, the coming of words from that, then the felt shift and the carrying forward are all characterised by passivity on the part of the focuser, an openness to the unknown and undefined.

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