What is the difference between a gut-level intuitive, instinctive necessary response – and a conditioned, fearful, self-limiting reactive prejudice?
How can people figure this out what do do about this, without shying away from the intensity of the feelings when they emerge? I believe the Alexander Technique is essential as a tool to get a practical answer to a complex and personal psychological question.
I’d like to tell you how A.T. worked for me to uncover my own underlying motives and assumptions that helped me past a firmly entrenched childhood impasse.
These emotions took some time to uncover. They were completely hidden behind the automated reactions that I was repeating, because the compensation habit in place was working so efficiently. My childish solution was designed to avoid the unwanted feeling. It was such an effective denial that I never even felt the original emotion that drove me to design this habitual remedy. What was in place was a very over-sensitive trigger recognition system that worked splendidly – but this remedy was on too much of an over-sensitive, uncontrollable hair-trigger! Once I questioned whether I needed to implement the reaction in certain situations, I could only temper it or redirect it – until I found its origin. Finding the feelings behind the reaction stopped the problem, as well as revealing an unexpected gift.
To do this, I had to trace the reaction back to right before it started - this took some practice. How do you pay attention to something that happens when you’re not paying attention!? Persistence, self-observation and self forgiveness… and noting ahead of time the likely situations where it could be about to happen.
When I finally got to see this unwanted reactive habit of mine about to happen – at the moment before doing the habitual solution – what I found was so uncomfortable that it was extremely difficult to not repeat the solution that I did not want to do. My impasse was expressed in the habitual postural attitude of my body. Oh, was it uncomfortable to hang out there! Having A.T. as a tool allowed me to be able to move out of this impasse physically; my body reflected how I felt emotionally with very physical limitations that I could free up using Alexander Technique. Without A.T. to be able to move away from these limitations, I would be stuck feeling these awful, historic gunky routines of complex hurts. While within these uncomfortable feelings, I realized how ANY remedy would be justified – if the emotion is extreme enough. Wanting to avoid hurting emotionally would be a solid and completely understandable justification for repeating the habitual remedy. This would especially be true if a person didn’t have another tool for dealing with their “stuff.”
But I now wanted to change it. It was childish, unnecessary and an overcompensation for the problem.
Using A.T. allowed me to pop out of the physical reaction of how I was expressing the emotional hurt and to be able to see it for what it was – ancient history. I could much more easily understand and compassionately forgive myself. I could even congratulate myself for designing such an effective coping mechanism when I was just a kid, even if it was something I wanted to change now. Since I could recognize the core emotional motives now for what they were, I could now freshly choose a more global and compassionate ways of dealing with all these factors – not just the self-involved ones.
After this experience, my own soul core motive became positive rather than reactive. Now instead of being coerced by a childhood fear of being excluded, there was the gift of feeling a desire for everyone to play fair, to include everyone present and to nurture feelings of playfully working together to maybe build something that might not yet exist.
So – I would say that Alexander Technique allowed me in that situation to “go deep into my soul.”
Have you used Alexander Technique on a similar issue? Care to talk about what happened?