Energy Without Effort
All progress in any field comes as the result of finding the easier way of doing the same old task--in all fields. This may very well be merely an introduction to a very profound subject, that is at the same time, very simple.
It is to do with the body, and the use of the body, the way the body is used. The mind and the spirit and the emotions etc. are all expressed in and through the body.
So the way the body is used, balanced, and co-ordinated by the self is central to every single experience, activity, and perception in the whole of life for each and every one of us all the time.
It, (the way the body is used), is to do with health, wellbeing, and function in all fields -- mental as well as physical -- As the title says: Energy Without Effort.
Effort is something to reduce, but energy is something to increase, something wonderful.
To introduce the work of this, in my opinion, greatest genius of modern mankind, one F. M. Alexander, I'll recap a little from my earlier life.
In my late teens, I was right into Yoga. I believed this to be the solution to all our woes, until I discovered the work of F.M. Alexander, which shed light on many aspects of Yoga, and led me in a whole new direction away from Yoga, and yet fundamental to it.
My first introduction to it, Alexander's work, was through my mother, who used to buy a magazine called "Health for All". She was quite an alternative then, I suppose, a long way from the social norm anyway.
Tasmania is much more of a backwater than
here (Christchurch, NZ). She gave me a book to read called "Inside Yourself" by Louise Morgan.
It was about the work of this fellow Tasmanian by the name of F.M. Alexander.
Has any of you heard of the Alexander Technique?
It is a technique for learning how to use your body to the maximum mechanical advantage where you have the maximum energy with the minimum of effort.
When I read this book something in me clicked. I had been into Yoga, and I would practice it 1/2 an hour at night, and 1/2 an hour in the morning. For me that was hard work, a lot of effort.
There were a lot of questions begging, like, when you are in all these twisted up sorts of shapes, what do you do with your mind? What is going on with the rest of you?
These questions really didn't become obvious until I read this book - "Inside Yourself". The book was just an introduction to Alexander's work.
The writer was a pupil of Alexander's. It was sort of a diary of her experience with him.
I thought "Wow, if this is true, if this really is valid, it is wonderful", so I explored further into it. There were things like, if you look from there over to here, why move your whole head, why not just move your eyes?
So it is efficient use of energy in all that you do. I discovered it is true, it is valid and it is wonderful!
After I read this book I wrote off to England and got the books, Alexander's own books. The books were entitled respectively; "Man's Supreme Inheritance", "Constructive Conscious Control of The Individual", "The Use of The Self" and "The Universal Constant in Living". Wherein all that we do, there is a constant that he discovered and what that constant is, is the way we use ourselves, how much effort we use in expending the energy that we use.
It is really learning to do things to the maximum mechanical advantage. When I received these books, I read them and they just clicked home. I was a Jesus freak converted! It was something wonderful, it was so real, so true, it fulfilled all the dreams I'd ever had of how the body can work, what can be achieved when it works properly, as it is designed to work.
So I literally set off around the world looking for a teacher of this revelation.
Alexander, like I say, a fellow Tasmanian, was born in 1869. I'll just give you a little bit of background here of what he achieved and why he did.
He started off with a career in reciting and theatre. He was apparently very good. At a very important engagement he lost his voice, a problem that had been getting steadily worse. He went to doctors and specialists and they did all they could for him. None of them had any solution, except short-term solutions.
It was his life's career that was at stake, so he set off to investigate it for himself. He worked on the basis that when he was reciting he would lose his voice, but when he was talking normally he wouldn't.
He reasoned that there must be something he was doing that was interfering with the normal function of his voice and then find out what it was and stop it. So he observed himself in the mirror when he was reciting and when he was talking normally.
He discovered that when he went to speak a sentence his head would go, what he referred to as, back and down when reciting. He would try to do something about that and when he was convinced he was doing the right thing he'd observe himself in the mirror and discover he wasn't doing what he thought he was doing.
In this sense, his feelings were not reliable. What felt right for him was what he was accustomed to, not what was actually right.
So in order to do it the right way, he had to do what felt wrong. Can you imagine the perseverance, the conviction, the commitment required to resolve this conflict?
He worked on the basic principle that there was something he was doing on stage that he wasn't when he was talking normally. So he had to find out what that was and unlearn it!
The primary principle behind the whole process is one of not doing. It is not trying. It is trying without trying. It is doing without doing. It is the central core between left and right, the balance point, the point of stillness within and around which all activity happens.
So it all amounts to one's ability to consciously, intentionally come back to that point of calm -- one's ability to inhibit the unnecessary and allow the right thing to happen.
It is using energy without effort!
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