Equilibrium: Aimless and Purposeful

“Whatsoever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, where you go.”

Ecclesiastes 9, 10

What are the values of contemporary society? On the one hand there are the so called “high-achievers”, bent on material gain, political power or sporting glories; on the other hand there is a culture of being ‘laid-back’, ‘hanging loose’ or ‘chilling out’. Where does one find valued for their own sake being purposeful, alert and engaged.

In AT circles, has the rejection of a “driven” attitude to life caused a drift away from the purposeful towards aimlessness? Do muscular release and saying “No” become new habits which generate a kind of lassitude?

What did Alexander have to say on this subject?

“We must cultivate, in brief, the deliberate habit of taking up every occupation with the whole mind, with a living desire to carry each action through to a successful accomplishment, a desire which necessitates bringing into play every faculty of the attention.” 1

Primary Control gives a direction – internally – but this new inner organisation needs a purposeful application; an engagement with life. This can help us develop other faculties and possibilities.

Not end-gaining does not mean giving up ends. Without an end, how can there be a means-whereby one can achieve it? “Non-doing” should not become “nothing-doing”.

1. Man’s Supreme Inheritance, FM Alexander, Chapter VI Habits of Thought and of Body. Published by Mouritz, London 1986.

© 2013 John S Hunter

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3 responses to “Equilibrium: Aimless and Purposeful”

  1. Ashby Alexander Technique says :

    Great contrast of ideas here. I think there is a tendency in students to equate stopping unnecessary muscle tension with a certain aimlessness, but I’ve never managed to put it quite so clearly. That word might be finding its way into lessons in the future… Karen

  2. maría del pilar pérez piñeyro says :

    Dear John Hunter:
    Sorry for my bad Enlish. I am an alexander teacher from Uruguay (Escuela Uruguaya de Técnica de Alexander), since 2011. I have trained with Carmen Tarnowski and Mariana di Paula.

    I am writing just to tell you that I agree with your article: “Equilibrium: Aimless and Purposeful” . Some times, I feel a bit sad when I see what you write: “In AT circles, has the rejection of a “driven” attitude to life caused a drift away from the purposeful towards aimlessness? Do muscular release and saying “No” become new habits which generate a kind of lassitude? “, because I need “an engagement with life”.

    Thank you very much for your article,
    from Montevideo, Uruguay,
    sincerely yours,
    mar pilar
    teacher on the alexander technique / education for movement

    • UpwardThought says :

      Hola María,

      Gracias por tu comentario.

      Lamentablemente, algunas personas utilizan la Técnica como una especie de realidad virtual. Pero la posibilidad ciertamente existe usarla, con los ojos muy abiertos, para arriesgar un compromiso más intenso con la Vida. Para mí, este es el aspecto más evolutivo de las ideas de Alexander.

      Mis mejores deseos,

      John

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