From the Humanist Health News Network REHUNO Health we are launching a place of exchange where we find a new look at daily life based on experiential and existential psychology (the Psychology of New Humanism), and which gives some concrete proposals for personal work to reach a full meaning of our existence and a life free of unnecessary suffering. It is not, therefore, therapeutic psychology, nor does it deal with any pathology, but is aimed at anyone who wants to understand themselves and have the tools, if they so wish, to initiate a positive change in their lives. Psychological wellbeing is undoubtedly one of the foundations of integral health, which is why it is an aspect that must be addressed.

We invite you to put these proposals into practice and also to contact us and tell us about your experience. Write to us!

By Jordi Jiménez

Attention is the aptitude of consciousness that allows us to observe external or internal phenomena. When a stimulus passes the threshold, it awakens the interest of the consciousness, remaining in a central field to which the attention or field of presence is directed (Self-liberation).

For example, if I am at home reading a book, my field of presence is that book, my attention is focused there. If someone says something to me at that moment, my field of presence changes, I leave the book and put my attention on the person who is talking to me. So, the central focus of attention, or field of presence, is continually changing. Everything that is not directly associated with my field of presence is diluted from that central zone of attention although it remains linked to it through associative relations with other objects not present in the central field, i.e., co-present. That is to say, I am reading a book that focuses my attention, but I “know” that I am on the sofa in my house, in the dining room, that it is in the afternoon and it is starting to get a bit cold. All these facts are around the central field of attention, associated with it, and fade away as they become more distant from my current interest in reading the book. However, if I start to notice that the sensation of cold increases, I end up looking for a blanket that I “know” was there.

Well, this field of objects and mental contents that I do not usually pay attention to, although they are related to each other and I count on them or take for granted that they are there, is the field of attentional “co-presence”. Another case: I enter a room and I find that the table and chairs of the study have disappeared and, In their place, there is a big void: “Hey, where did the table and chairs go? When I entered the room, I wasn’t thinking about the elements that were there (I didn’t have them in my mind), I simply expected them to be there, I took it for granted that everything would be as I left it the day before and when I enter, I see that it doesn’t match. If I can see that difference between what I remembered and what I see now, it is because there is a huge “co-presence field” that is constituted by all the things I know and remember, and that is working automatically to confirm its contents or giving a warning when something does not coincide with the data in memory.

In short, the co-presence is fed by the memory data that is constantly being stored in the daily experiences, and without realizing it, this memory data is being used to act automatically and is continuously compared with what I perceive in order to detect differences. But let’s see in more detail what happens when things are no longer the same as we remember them, as in the previous example, and that alarm goes off that puts the situation in our presence. If something is no longer as I remembered it, one could also say that this field of co-presences is synonymous with a “field of beliefs”. It is like saying: “I thought there was a table and chairs in the room and now there is nothing”. We are not referring to religious beliefs, political or ideological beliefs. We are referring to beliefs related to everyday life, what you count on to be one way. So, we could say that the field of co-presence is the whole set of things that I believe to be one way, that are stored in memory and that compare at all times with my present experiences.

This can be applied to all aspects of my life and not only to the furniture in my house. For example I thought you were different…, you were not like that before…, I can’t believe what you have done…, I thought you would like my proposal… etc., to give some examples from personal relationships. On many occasions, there are “clashes” between perception and what I remembered about another person, i.e., what I believed about that person. Of course, the longer we have known someone, the more we may be shocked by a situation that we did not expect, that we did not count on. At that moment, my beliefs become evident because I believed one thing and something else happens.

This happens not only in personal matters but also in social matters: I never thought that the bank would deceive us…, I trusted that investment fund…, I believed that the news was as it was explained… and others like that. As you can see, there are an infinite number of co-presences, or beliefs, that can clash with what we perceive at a given moment due to a lack of coincidence. And this happens much more frequently in a rapidly changing world, where yesterday’s things have been transformed almost without realizing it, and one day I wake up in a new reality, in a world that is no longer the one I knew.

Attention, we are not saying that we would have to doubt absolutely everything we know. These things should not be taken to such extremes, as we could spill out into a paranoid state in which we would believe we see hidden intentions or double meanings in everything we perceive. Actually, to spill out into such a state is to refocus my attention on my beliefs and ignore my perceptions. What we are saying is the opposite, we have to open our eyes and see things with as little filter as possible of my beliefs in order to be able to compare and gain the criteria of reality.

Let’s see then what the positive side of all this is: faced with the clash between beliefs and perception, we have a magnificent indicator, first, to “see” what our beliefs were, to detect them (by contrast with what I see) and observe how they are constantly acting; and second, to modify them and change our way of looking at the world. Something has broken our co-presence, has dismantled our memories and our beliefs that now no longer serve us because they do not coincide with what I see. We can deny what we see and cling to our memories, stay locked in our illusory world, but I think the best thing we can do is to reconstruct our internal narratives, to rearrange things differently, although that will always require a little effort. We will have to let go of old beliefs and let them go. Because they were well known we feel a certain attachment to them, the warmth of the known. The “temptation” to deny reality and stay with the known is great, but we have to make room for the new to come in so that we can advance our criteria of reality. It is always better to know how things really are, to be awake and attentive than to be tied to false memories that no longer exist.

This is our proposal today, to review what we know deep down is not as we believe it to be and to let go of those old stories so that our personal evolution can take its course and lead us to a new state, to a new, freer, more awakened, cleaner existence. Remember the Principles (article 6): “To go against the evolution of things is to go against oneself”.


The original article can be found here