F. M. Alexander’s concept of inhibition — so unfortunately named — is the ne plus ultra of the Alexander Technique, that without which the technique would not be. When deeply explored, it can become a powerful tool for understanding the self, a secular sacrament. The following is an expression of what it means to me at this time.
Quantum physicists are asserting that our choices cause us to enter an alternate universe. Heady stuff, but they may be behind the curve. Robert Frost saw in his diverging roads an alternate future for himself, a choice that “made all the difference.” A good friend, a teacher of Alexander Technique, waited by the side of his own road, a broad New York street. He waited for some time, cultivated his intention, waited still more until he found himself crossing safely. It was a transcendental experience, he reports, a crossing not just of a road, but into another future for himself, an alternate reality. Thinking in movement, movement in thinking, is not a precursor of movement. It is movement itself — a flood of neural gestures — a secular sacrament, an outward manifestation of an inward grace.
We can move reflexively too. We can lash out, strike out, move out, or spread out, all without a moment’s thought, and sometimes, when we hear the clanging bell of a fire alarm, that’s a really good thing. Or maybe not. No matter how thoughtful, or reflexive, or habitual our choices, we choose a different universe for ourselves with every choice. How much better then to cultivate mindful choices, to cultivate our intentions. A famous teacher of the Alexander Technique was known to say: You are going to sit. You are defintiely going to sit. He helped his student develop an intention and the freedom to comply, a characteristic of every Alexander lesson worthy of the name.
You, dear reader, can do the same for your self. You can develop the intention of singing, of responding with your character’s next line, of bringing you hands to the keyboard whether it be that of your iPad, your Acer, or your Steinway. You can endow your movement with significance, with purpose, which is not to say, anticipation. Please do not go forward into that good movement. Don’t aim. Do an inventory of your self to uncover subtle muscular anticipations. Let the liveliness of your thinking be your reality and then, within your intent, and in your own good time, choose. You may choose an alternate response, this, that, or the other, but no matter, you will have moved into a future of your own fashioning, a meditation in movement. If it is not the nothingness of Zen practice, it is a Western approach to that practice, a singularity of mind and body, sufficient perhaps, for you, for me, and for now. What a future we might make, if we all thought before we acted.