Monday, May 29, 2006

Monday, May29: Chapter 30: Four levels of the work

EASE IN OUR BODIES. MORE BODY AWARENESS, MOVE WITH GREATER COMFORT AND FLEXIBILITY AND ENJOYMENT. The fourth level goal of the Chris Elms Feldenkrais® work, is what people usually think of when they think of Feldenkrais. “Oh, it’s some sort of amazing bodywork that really gets you in touch with the subtle levels of moving.” (Or, “It’s some weird stuff, where you lie on the floor and go slow. Very unsexy and you don’t even sweat. How boring.”) Yes, Feldenkrais movements can wake us up to moving in ways that we haven’t since we were small children. Yes, it is slow, so the brain can actually learn something new, instead of reprogramming more deeply what we habitually do. It can promote flexibility without strain and efforting. It can give us a whole new idea of how to be at ease and comfortable in our bodies.

GREATER FLEXIBILITY IN THINKING AND FEELING, AS WELL AS BODY. The third level of this work, as I conceive it, is to increase thinking and feeling abilities. This occurs with anyone who does any Feldenkrais work on a long term and consistent basis, especially anyone who experiments and plays with the movements every day, and really tries to penetrate the method of this work. Because the method is so opposite to the “no pain, no gain” mentality, just practicing the attention to the process instead of the goal will yield magnificent results in all aspects of participants’ lives, not just in the physical. Because the work is about learning by experimentation, rather than imitating the "right way" to do something, we can begin to realize we could learn and question in the thinking and feeling realms as well. Because the work is a way of over and over experiencing the power of trying out variations, and a re-entry into the thrill of discovery, we can stop taking for granted the fixed and conventional interpretation of "how things are."

EXPAND, IMPROVE, TRANSFORM OUR LIVES. The second level of the work, is to expand the possibilities in our lives, to move beyond the confines of our habitual thinking and feeling and doing and sensing. To learn more about all of life and to transform ourselves in the process. I would like to see an awakening out of the traps our society places us in, rushing from here to there, no time to think, or be quiet, or explore what it is to be us, lots of time being addicted to television or crappy food or automobiles. This goal is to awaken to pathways that we might never have dared to enter, and not only enter them, but delight in the learning that leads to excelling in them.

WAKE UP TO THE PRESENT. The highest level of the work is simple this: to wake up. To come to awareness as an ongoing core to our existence. Since this awareness will be based not on a specific meditation, but a whole practice of experimentation and learning and discovery, this awareness will be useful at all moments in our lives. The life of sleep and habit and routine will seem stale and pale and uninteresting to us. We will more and more see through our habitual ways of being, thinking, feeling, moving, speaking, reaction, and setting up our days, of talking and (non-)listening, of walking and lying down and sitting and going about little or big tasks. Where are we at any and every moment? How can we wake up and be happy here? What are the habits and ongoing trance in our way? What we will discover on the other side of habit and trance will be the uniqueness that is us, alive, and present.


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