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A New Way of Thinking

A New Way of Thinking

Many people are comfortable with placing The Alexander Technique within the realms of movement education and there is no question that this is an element of what we do. AND, there’s more…

FM Alexander (1869-1955) was a contemporary of Albert Einstein (1879-1955) – what an era! There is no record of them ever having met, but I have no doubt that Einstein would have been on Alexander’s radar. So when I see Einstein quoted as saying:

“A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move towards higher levels.”,

I think of the four books that Alexander published between the 1910 and 1946, saying precisely that AND offering a means to that end.

In Alexander’s opinion, “the mechanical habit of body is the immediate consequence of the mechanical habit of thought” and by working with our thinking in relation to our movement we can shed light on those habitual ways of thinking, unpick the knots we create, release ourselves from our misconceptions and limiting beliefs and think and move more flexibly and efficiently, taking in new information and making fresh decisions.

I believe there are many different forms of thinking and that the label ‘thought’ is generally only limited to that linear running commentary or instruction that we perpetuate inside our heads – or is it just me?!

What if “thinking” encompasses more than that?

– an open focus, sometimes called the flow state, referred to by Alexander as “a general alertness”

– the ability to view our beliefs and paradigms in action, rather than being slaves to our old stories

– deep resting mind or meditation – is that really an absence of thinking or could it be considered a different form of mind work?

– a rational, logical progression of analysis and deduction. Alexander was a firm proponent of using our reasoning processes.

– making a decision, staying present to that decision and holding it in mind for a period of time regardless of beckoning distraction

– using the imagination

All of these I enjoy at a much higher level because of my study of Alexander’s work and I like to think that my ability to shift between them and not be stuck in a mechanical habit actually does connote a ‘new type of thinking’. I also believe that if more of us engaged with our “habits of thought”, we might be able to put the remarkable faculties of the mind to good use and make our way out of the messes we have created thus far.

I like to think that Einstein would be hopeful for us.

So as a first step in engaging with Alexander’s work, his ideas are related to how you move, act and get your results. And in doing so, you open up to so much more.

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2 Responses to A New Way of Thinking

  1. I certainly agree that becoming aware of our “habits of mind” and how they are influencing/controlling our bodies and movements is a first step to creative changes in my life. I have known this for quite some time but actually making the connection between being aware of the attitudes and habits I hold about myself and then allowing that to change how I hold myself (posture) and present myself to the world -that is the challenge.

    • “…the first step to creative changes in my life.” – so true, Barbara! And F M Alexander was remarkable to devote his life to taking on the challenge of which you speak and finding a way through. That’s why I love teaching this work and seeing people get excited with the changes!

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