31/03/2014

Transgressive awareness

We humans say what distinguishes us from other species is awareness: we can realize, in the sense of shed light on something, wanting to watch and question what we see.

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What we do not see continues working and directs us —Image Unknown Author

The image of the iceberg is interesting in that sense as metaphor: only a part emerges of the water, the conscious part that becomes visible, while the unconscious one, which has a greater mass, stays hidden and holds the visible. Although you do not see it with the naked eye, exists. This image is a suggestive metaphor to show how everything that we don’t see —and perhaps we don’t want to see— continues operating and directing us.

The movie ‘The Matrix’ is a good parable to illustrate what happens when one decides to take consciousness: at any given moment, Neo is confronted with the question of taking the red pill or the blue. Morpheus warns that once you decide on one or the other, there is no turning back. Chooses to take the red. In a later scene, Morpheus shows him the reality of the world of machines and says the famous phrase ‘Welcome to the desert of the real’. And Neo, in front of the desert of the real, would want go back and take the blue. Which by the way, is what happens in ‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley, where we are shown a medicated society in order to escape.

Whether we like it or not, the human species have this ability to become aware —and remember— our way of being, doing and acting. Our use of that consciousness can lead us from a state of zombification —in which we just propose something about our lives and we see ourselves as victims of circumstances— to an active use of awareness in which we can question ourselves the life we are living, our real needs, desires and hopes, and that can lead us to make decisions. We went from a life that happens to us a life we lead, to use a buzzword.

It is in this sense that I speak of transgressive awareness. Transgredior from Latin, to go (gradior) beyond (trans), to cross, to exceed. We believe that revolutions are only external, when they can also be internal, and probably starting in this field. We can start our consciousness and begin to decide in our lives, but we also have the option not to run and settling into the ‘this is what you get’.

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Desde 2006 viene impartiendo habitualmente cursos y conferencias, y actualmente es profesor en Porta22 —Barcelona Activa—, en la Fundació Àmbit y en diferentes másteres de coaching e inteligencia emocional.'We are going to a world in which there will be less excuses to avoid responsibilities'. Journalist specialized in personal responsibility, leadership in values and organizational development. Among other publications, collaborates with El País Semanal and Negocios, the economic supplement of the same newspaper. As a writer has published the book 'Encantado de conocerme' —Glad to know me, Plataforma, 2008—, 'El Principito se pone la corbata' —The little prince gets his tie, Temas de hoy, 2010— and 'El sinsentido común' —The common nonsense, Temas de hoy, 2011—. 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Richard Wiseman, catedrático de Comprensión Pública de la Psicología en la Universidad de Hertfordshire, en Reino Unido, nos recuerda en una entrevista concedida a Eduard Punset que 'cuando te obligas a sonreír, eso te anima, te hace sentir más feliz. Eso sí, hay que mantener la sonrisa en la cara durante unos 15 segundos, mantenerla ahí'. Un sencillo ejercicio: párate, respira suavemente y dirige la atención hacia tu cara. Comienza por la frente, date cuenta de las sensaciones que vienen de ella, nota si hay alguna tensión y relájala. Párate especialmente en las mandíbulas y la lengua, porque es muy común que las mantengamos contraídas y en tensión. Respira y suéltalas. Relaja la boca. Coloca suavemente y sin forzar la punta de la lengua sobre la encía superior, por detrás de tus dientes delanteros. Verás cómo se relajan automáticamente los labios y se esboza una suave sonrisa. La cara es una de las partes más sensibles de nuestro cuerpo. Hay en ella un conjunto de elementos muy diferentes entre sí que configuran nuestra tarjeta de presentación: ojos, boca, frente, cejas, mejillas, mentón... En algunas de estas partes —mandíbula y frente son puntos neurálgicos— se concentran muchas de nuestras tensiones habituales, sobre todo miedo y rabia. Por eso es importante darse cuenta de cómo tenemos la cara, saber qué dice de nosotros y tomar conciencia de ello, relajar sus músculos y comenzar así a cambiar nuestra actitud. Muchas personas de diferentes épocas y culturas se han referido a la extraordinaria singularidad de la sonrisa y a su capacidad para el tránsito del yo al tú. Según María Jesús Ribas 'la sonrisa no es simplemente la manifestación de un sentimiento interno de alegría, sintonía o bienestar; es una forma de expresión exclusiva de los seres humanos, y es también la parte más visible de una unión íntima entre dos mentes'. El Dalai Lama considera 'una sonrisa como algo único en un ser humano. Una sonrisa es también una poderosa comunicación. Una sonrisa sincera es la expresión perfecta del amor y la compasión humanas'. La Madre Teresa de Calcuta estaba convencida de que 'la paz empieza con una sonrisa', y el escritor ruso Leo Tolstoy llegó a asegurar que 'el niño reconoce a su madre por la sonrisa'.The power of smile is so big that only the fact of slightly doing it already produces beneficial effects. Richard Wiseman, a Public Understanding of Psychology professor in the University of Hertfordshire, in UK, remembers us in an interview with Eduard Punset that 'when you force yourself to smile, it encourages you, it makes you feel happier. This said, you have to keep your smile for 15 seconds, keep it there'. A simple exercise: stop, breathe gently and focus your attention on your face. Start with your forehead; be aware of the feelings that come from it, if there is any type of strain, relax it. 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