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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Observing Without Interferring

"You were saying something about seeing what happens without doing anything - in fact, a lot of Alexander teachers mention this - but there is something about this that I really can't understand."

Your habits are in charge of keeping things the same. Lots of people can tell after something has changed - but only a few can sense change as it is happening - and describe what is happening as it is going on. Even more rare are the times you can witness the very first thing that starts the chain of events into action. - That's almost a transcendant challenge.

Most of the time, sort of like waking up in a lucid dream, you realize that here you are in the middle of the story, doing mysterious things for reasons you don't understand, instead of the beginning that you would like to be able to remember. The challenge is to find out what and how you did what you wanted to do, so you can go through a similar proces and maybe discover another amazing secret about yourself.

  • What happened that made an experience that was so different?
  • Can you wake up to witness yourself changing as it is happening?

It sounds esoteric, but it's not so hard, it's an unfamiliar sort of easy. Your habits make it hard. This challenge is helped by the fact that your habit that you're moving away from or prevent is so habitual and easy to repeat any time you want to. Really, you don't have to trace what is happening as it is happening any further back than just one tiny moment of awareness before what you have found out before. String those discoveries together, watch without caring so much - and poof! you'll notice the next surprise in what may turn out to be an important chain of events.

How to remember back the moment before? What did you do, just before? As far back in time as you can - Was it the sequence, was it your attention, which direction did you go, what was the quality of the motion, what did you hear, breathe, where did your attention go, when?

Sometimes it takes a long time to learn to do this. You'll wake up sooner and sooner. You'll remember more and more. One time, there you'll be at the source of the old choice you made when you put the habit in place. You might "remember" the reason why this particular habit; or suddenly be inside of an era when you trained the habit...or hear something your parent told you when you were so young. The memory may be the other direction, a memory of once being free of the habit before you thought you needed it. Then - think about what happened. Don't make a decision about it, or a conclusion. Record it. Be careful who you tell it to, because saying it sometimes leaves out important parts. Go back and get those parts you left out the first time you tried to describe what happened.

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