Today, a student asked me if the Alexander Technique was a spiritual practice, if in effect, it was preparing us for death. My immediate response was that the Alexander Technique prepares us for life. But I also get where she’s going. The technique boils down to letting go of the anticipatory gripping that we all do, to a trust in the open-endedness of things. There’s very little that we can know for certain despite history, statistics and planning. If we have the trust, we can leave ourselves free to flow. But so often, and for so many rational reasons, we don’t have the trust. It seems more sensible to prepare for the worst by tensing.
I don’t trust in anything like a god, but I do have a certain trust in the energy that makes things grow, in life, and in our capacity for resilience. I usually boil it down to the brain and the nervous system or the network of roots and fungi in a forrest that communicate, to things that are both mysterious and measurable.
My student mentioned that it was a lot less energy to live without the grip, but that it took quite a lot of focus to get off clock time and land in the present. I added that it’s easy to get seduced by posture and body mechanics, but it’s remarkable how well the body works on it’s own when we stop hanging on.