Is direction necessary?

December 24, 2015 at 4:13 am Leave a comment

It’s a question that I revisit often.  For now, I believe that inhibition is all that is necessary for us to function with ease and simplicity. It seems to me that direction happens –as a result of the inhibitive process. I have read The Evolution of the Technique countless times. Each time I am drawn to two spots.  One is when FM  realizes that if he prevents the pulling back of his head, then he does not depress his larynx and audibly suck in air. It is the inhibition of pulling his head back that results in his improved use. It’s what he does not do, not what he does that helps him. Then he attempts to put his head forward, etc.  Things don’t go well after that –until the second spot I’m drawn to.  This is near the very end of the chapter when he decides that he can make a fresh decision whether to speak or not or do something else like raise his hand instead. As my teacher, Tommy Thompson, puts it, “he is equally committed to not following through with his original intention.” Inhibition, no?

I also think about young children.  They are my best teachers. Children don’t “direct” themselves.  They are sufficiently present with what they are doing that they don’t project themselves into the future, into reactive patterns. A state of presentness is an inhibitive state. Reactions take us out of the present moment. And children are very much in the moment. But I must also admit that knowledge of what happens when we remove the interference from our primary mechanism, may be useful.  Years ago (20 or more) I remember a discussion with Tommy Thompson and David Gorman around not needing Alexander’s directions. I told them that I didn’t see how they could be sure they didn’t need them since they grew up with directions.  How could you know that you don’t need them if you never experienced this technique without them?  Now I realize that that may never be a possibility because no matter how you experience this work, you will probably read a number of books that include Alexander’s directions.  Oh well….So much for training a generation of teachers who are completely “directionless!”

Another reference for me is a spot in Frank Jones’ book where he has a line drawing of three heads: habitual collapsed, habitual erect and guided erect. It’s one of my favorites parts of this magnificent book.  He says that you can move from being collapsed to be guided up; and you can move from being collapsed to being held erect.  BUT you cannot move from being habitually erect to being guided upright.  First you have to let go. That doesn’t sound like direction to me. I listened to my thoughts all day today looking for any sign of direction.  Couldn’t find one.  Every moment I sensed myself out of coordination, I asked myself where I was. I allowed myself to just be.  What happened as a result of that?  Well, what do you know?  I believe my neck may have freed and my head may have moved –forward and up– and my spine may have lengthened and my limbs may have freed.  Isn’t that interesting?  Let me know your thoughts –really!


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