On thinking versus feeling

Alexander Technique students get really hung up trying to make their necks feel free. Then the teacher rather unhelpfully says, “Think don’t feel,” which can be quite confusing for someone who is already quite out of touch with his body, and is taking lessons to gain body awareness.

The point is to feel exactly what you feel. To know it clearly. That’s quite different then trying to make yourself feel something. Your neck might feel tense. That’s the temporary reality to know clearly. And your tool is the thought, “Let my neck be free.” Eventually, with practice, that thought causes the neck muscles to ease up. Then you get the sensation of freedom. In that order. You can’t get to the sensation of freedom by trying to feel free.

Of course, the paradox is that sometimes you can, but not reliably.