Exploring the Unformulated…

Photo: ‘Formulating’ – Pixabay

In his book ‘Unformulated Experience’, Donnel B. Stern explains, the title refers to not only all the “knowable, communicable implications that have never been spelled out, perceptions that have habitually been passed over”, but also, “the ongoing organizing activities… that supply life with continuity.” UNFORMULATED EXPERIENCE is, “the moment-to-moment state of vagueness and possibility from which the next moment’s articulated experience emerges.

“The structure of unformulated experience is like a figure emerging from a dense fog. There is contour there, but it is fuzzy.” He goes on to say regarding perception, “Experience depends on the meanings we assign to it. Even when meaning just ‘arrives’ in our awareness (that is, when we do not sit and ‘figure it out’), as it most often does, we have played a much larger role in its formulation than we have any idea.” p. 44-8

What is formulated out of unformulated experience is MEANING. Reality does NOT simply confront us. We INTERPRET our way through time. And the unformulated also refers to a kind of ‘selective inattention’… what we filter out in the formulating process by limiting our ‘focal attention’… to “keep something out of awareness. If one’s focal attention is never trained on this ‘something’, one is never aware of it… it remains unformulated.” [p. 59] The selective inattention screens out experience “prior to articulation’, and so avoids cognizing and is excluded from the self-system. “It can never be elaborated.”

You could call this a kind of ‘NOT-KNOWING’… it underlies the formulating of experience, and is just as influential as what is allowed INTO interpreted experience. Not-knowing can be a source of anxiety because of “the tendency we all have to avoid the unfamiliar.” But NOT-KNOWING can also be relied on AS a source of meaning, and the openness experience that one feels at THE EDGE OF THE FUTURE… where the ever unfolding NOW reveals… where the vitality of being, and the richness of knowing found, and activate each instant.

AT THE LINC… A TSK student explores the not-knowing… and constructing of boundaries of what to include and not include… his habitual way of confronting the ever revealing newness of NOW…

Walkabout – Session 11, Week 3 – Exploring not-knowing

About David Filippone

I have been a student of Tarthang Tulku’s Time, Space, Knowledge (TSK) vision for over twenty-five years. For the past twelve years, I’ve studied TSK and Full Presence Mindfulness with Jack Petranker, director of the Center for Creative Inquiry (CCI). I have also participated in programs offered by Carolyn Pasternak of the Odiyan Center. For the past several years, I have curated the CCI Facebook page, which is often TSK-focused, and I serve on the CCI Board of Directors. The CCI Facebook page can be reached at... https://tinyurl.com/ybyfolcf
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