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Monday, January 28, 2008

Right Brain "Baby Mind" Learning

Definitely there are occasions in adult life where it is useful to go into "direct absorb" mode and not filter learning through language.
Take for instance learning any movement skill, such as juggling...playing on a pinball machine, pool, golf, the directing of Alexander Technique, or a skill that involves another language such as playing a musical instrument.

What I prefer to determine, as an adult, is if this person I might be learning from is "worthy" to be absorbed in this completely open way. Then I deliberately open myself to them - as wide as possible and - take them and the skill in. There is no dividing line.

It actually happened not long ago for me. I was visiting a fellow collegue of Alexander Technique to trade work with him. He showed me this x-ray of his lower back; evidently four months previously, he had gotten into an unfortunate auto accident. The seat had come apart and crushed his tailbone so that it had to be removed. Usually when this must occur, the rest of the vertebrae above collapses into the empty space occupied by the tailbone. But here was the x-ray that showed this was not happening. He believed this condition of affairs reflected his discipline of deepening his work in Alexander Technique. I agreed. When he did table work with me, I was most happy to reinforce the sense he had of direction, as he encouraged me when it was my turn to move away from old patterns concerning how I had learned to walk from doing something funny to myself in the area of my hips. The effect was superb; for only the second time in my life I was able to completely move out of the twisted way I had learned to walk as a child.

Now I would say that my ability to absorb this information had to occur on a pre-verbal level, possibly because I had learned to walk incorrectly before I learned to talk. It's a common experience in learning Alexander Technique that the teacher will indicate a motion at odds with the student's established assumptions - and this was no different. It was such a surprising direction, which yielded an amazing result that I had to ask - what happened there? To which he replied - "think of that as dynamic opposition."

Anyway - in my life this "baby-mind" ability to absorb beyond language is still happily an occasional event.

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