Indirection not correction

Posted by Jeanne Barrett on September 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

There is an entire language of the unified self that we learn as we study the Alexander Technique.  During Alexander lessons, we set aside what may seem “wrong” or “right”, and even what “wrong or right” might mean. We learn to minimize stability when availability provides a more effective and satisfying response. We become more comfortable with not knowing, assessing less, experiencing more. This education requires time, curiosity and an ongoing refusal to “make something happen”.

Typically, there is an identified problem that compels us to investigate the Alexander Technique: a sore neck or back; performance issues for dancers, musicians, actors; a longing for deeper comfort and awareness. And, once we begin lessons, the constructive unraveling begins.  We may  not know what caused the “problem”, and we do not need to know specifics in order to allow a solution. The tools we refine via in person, hands-on Alexander lessons are intention and attention. We don’t become “problem solvers”, we become “solution allowers”.

A nearly universal temptation  is to identify the “problem”, then correct by direct means: pull down shoulders that are perceived to be lifted, straighten backs and necks, push into width and length, muscle ourselves into shape.  This becomes an endless and fruitless battle, as the elastic and entire instrument of self cannot be pummeled into a cooperative and responsive condition. The corrective battle also requires perception based on a flawed instrument, a belief in what is “right”, and an urgency that undermines curiosity and process. Curiosity is a lot more fun than correction.  We are designed to be curious, and we learn more when we are having fun.

The principles of indirection, intention and attention learned in Alexander lessons can be applied to any activity, as the instrument by which you learn and act is improved in refining both instrument and means.  You can learn a new language, solve a software problem, engage in political activism, develop an effective business plan, or learn a new, complex piece of music with an instrument of self that allows a solution rather than fixing for a result.

Fix less, allow more, and welcome curiosity.