Thinking at the Edge (TAE) shows you how bring what you know from experience into your awareness, so that you can learn from it, think from it, act from it and express it to others. Essential to this process is learning Focusing.
The first step of TAE is to let yourself get a felt sense— of something you want to do, a problem you want to solve, a place where you feel stressed or stuck, or a creative endeavor. Getting in touch with your bodily felt sense of a situation opens you to receive intricate knowing from your lived experience.
Since we are not used to pausing and sensing inside, it helps to have an experienced person there to accompany you in this inner space. Online TAE classes usually meet for 2 hours once a week or twice a month for 6 sessions. Private online sessions usually meet for 7 one-hour sessions, with intervals determined by you.
What do people work on with TAE?
Let’s say you have an “inking” about something.
It could be a new direction that you want to take in life.
It could be something that you observe in your work, in your personal life or in society. A feeling like “I know there must be a better way to do this.”
It could be something that you want to share with the world, but you just can’t put it into words yet.
Examples of potential TAE projects:
Working on a presentation you want to give.
Getting insight on the challenges you face in a new job.
Exploring something you want to write or teach, and the blocks that come up when you think about doing it.
Finding ways to translate years of study into words that will make people’s eyes light up.
Defining your own unique way of operating the the world.
Developing a new system or theory based on your lived experience.
The TAE Process:
Allow a felt sense to form: Thinking at the Edge starts with going to the “edge” of what you already know and paying attention to your bodily felt sense of your project.
Find the crux: Allow your felt sense to show you what is the most essential part of it, and write freely: You will start writing what you do know about it, even though you know you can’t say all of it yet.
Notice what seems illogical or paradoxical: There might be something about your idea that seems impossible, paradoxical, impractical, crazy, etc. This can be the most valuable part, because it is something that is not readily understood in society.
Find relevant examples in your own experience: In order for you to have this “knowing” there must have been times in your life when you experienced something that has to do with your felt sense. It could be something that you experienced as a child, as an adolescent or as an adult. It could be something that has caused you to suffer or something that gives you great joy (or both!). You will explore moments of your own experience (“instances”) that somehow have to do with your felt sense, and “extract” the patterns inherent in these experiences.
“Crossing” patterns and experiences: You sense into one experience or pattern through the lens of another experience or pattern. This “crossing” of two felt senses has the effect of deepening the felt sense and bringing clarity, often giving you the ability to express your ideas in more detail, or in a new way.
Working with words: Again you’ll attempt to express your felt sense in words, drawings, etc., making sure that your words and images express what you really want to say, without being taken over by their “public” meanings.
Select the words or phrases that are especially meaningful: As we come to the end of the process, you’ll have a rich new vocabulary of words and images that come from your experience. You will select your “terms”: several words or phrases that are full of meaning for you. “Crossing” these terms brings further depth and clarity, making it possible to express your ideas as new concepts.
Your “talisman sentence”: You’ll end up with a short sentence that encapsulates what you have discovered. You can carry this “talisman sentence” with you to remind you and give you strength as you meet the challenges of implementing your new concepts.