…After 30 Years of A.T.

Those who study Alexander Technique have come to appreciate the ability to change oneself. A.T. has been a means to reveal assumptions that I never knew that I had, both mental and sensory. Alexander’s principles have taught me compassion, persistence and patience, along with the value of effortless movement.

Compassion came with knowledge about how so many assumptions were set into place underneath one’s own level of awareness. Later nuisances were learned by accident, bound up in a whole ball of wax, along with what was intentional. Compassion has come along because any person cannot help their own level & content of conditioning. A person can only start from where they are. They can only make their own choices from this moment. We all, in a sense, need to be de-briefed after arrival and need to study the operating manual. The kicker is the operating manual changes at each stage of human experience!

Does serving a more inclusive sense of purpose make a difference by surrendering egotistic agendas? Not much.It’s not as simple as making distinctions between states of being and motives that can be labeled as “egotistic” or “ethical” and then deciding to follow the wiser one. While studying A.T., the congruence of what means are followed will come forward, (despite the content of value.) You learn to “walk your talk.” Labeling is a little too simplistic to describe what goes on inside people and how you affect others and your world. As you determine your criteria and their priorities, they are still self-serving purposes. The Alexander teacher must be selfish and attend to themselves to be able to communicate effectively.

Certainly, it’s handy to know what these motives are. To proceed you would most effectively suspend these goals so you can conduct some experiments about ways to proceed that take many factors into account. Even if you believe you have a more inclusive and deliberate purpose, or even if purposes are surrendered indefinitely, any one, rigid way of doing things may not be the more appropriate or wiser course. Only time tells. Hopefully a person learns from mistakes that may or may not be under their influence to right.

Soon after I began to use it, Alexander Technique woke up a new sense of desire that seemed to ride at the core of an innate sense of my identity. My sense of desire has become quite a bit more sophisticated and observant over longer units of time. Perhaps this effect would have come with age and experience. Practicing Alexander’s work has brought together diverging parts of the self into wholeness, rather than encouraging to leave behind a “smaller” sense of self for a “higher” one. Judgment choices containing value preference have become more global and inclusive rather than myopic, focused and narrow.

What has most grown is an ability to welcome unfamiliarity. Along with learning the tool from Alexander’s work to stop my startle reflex, I’m not as scared in general because I’ve learned to prevent my fearful reactions about insecurity and worries that drove the reflex.

After studying A.T., how a person demonstrates & expresses their values may become daringly eccentric. My self-contained confidence comes across to others alternately as a careless affront, as reckless stupidity and for some, as the ultimate in daring. It’s a strange gift to learn a tool without content, a tool that allows itself to be used for any purpose. Now that I’ve got this tool of Alexander’s example to express values, I can decide what I’m doing with it.

Of course, everyone has their edge of challenge where they fall short of their ideals. Standards tend to rise along with ability to sense differences that were not previously apparent. This is why it pays to keep track of progress over time.

Those who study A.T. come to know first-hand that any course of action that isn’t flexible, also isn’t free to respond to changing circumstances – be they social or involving the self. People without the ability to be flexible tend to interpret actions that they do not understand as either “fascinating”, “magical” or “dangerous to survival.” Freedom is threatening to some – so, results may vary! Those who study and practice how thought carries into action may be grossly misunderstood by others who are not a part of the subculture of self-improvement.

Alexander Technique is revolutionary. It gets people to think for themselves. Just as study A.T. causes dropping unnecessary mannerisms of movement, it also leads a person to ask themselves, “Why do this?”  People say Alexander Technique disappears ego, but that wasn’t my experience. Without much attachment to begin with, AT actually helped me reclaim a sense of original vision, something that every two year old has.

For me, Alexander Technique has been a means to awaken desire – along with patience and compassion. It’s been a way to shine up intuition. As my abilities have sharpened to perceive and describe crucial differences, the content of my intent has expanded. I get more ideas, and they are better ideas based on observations of what I can notice and describe. After thirty years, there are still insights that change everything for me, reverberating back into my history. It matters less what is done, and more how the doing is accomplished. The process becomes more important than the goal – perhaps the goal is never gained.

…And yes, that sense of discovery is still there, every time I free myself.

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