Invent Your Own World
The Feldenkrais Method invites us to explore ourselves in a deep way, discovering possibilities of which we never dreamed.
While Feldenkrais worked with improving movement, his goal was awareness, the ability to know what one is doing and use effective action in one's life. In this method, one explores how to become more aware of one's action and sensation.
This is a whole philosophy of living that involves the freedom to recover and learn anew natural and balanced movement for life. It affects our thinking, breathing, creative problem solving, and our ability to respond to love. It is only through movement that we are known and can be in the world.
The key to these changes is something called "organic learning."
What is organic learning? It is our biological inheritance to have the capacity to organize our action and perception through acting in the world. In Higher Judo Feldenkrais wrote, "In a perfectly matured body which has grown without great emotional disturbances, movements tend gradually to conform to the mechanical requirements of the surrounding world. The nervous system has evolved under the influence of these laws and is fitted to them."
Such movements with no self interference conform to the mechanics of the structure of the musculo- skeletal system. We are capable of skilfully organized movement in all our activities. On the other hand, few of us come close to our potential. We learn in such strained situations that we create adaptations that hamper other aspects of our life.
We need to restore this ability to learn in a fundamental way, to recover what we have excluded and restricted in ourselves.
Ruthy Alon, one of Feldenkrais's first students, writes:
Organic learning is when the organism itself uses its faculties to make an adjustment, to invent a functional solution, exploring, negotiating, evaluating to update a conclusion, so that the person can replace a habitual and counter-productive response with a more accurate one.
An improvement in the bodily performance is validated not when it is intentionally calculated and imposed by imitation, but only if it derives spontaneously from within the non-conscious organism, a rare phenomenon for the mature person.
But if the adult can regain this childlike capacity to invent success, this is a source for a biological optimism as well as an actual improvement in movement and an enhancement of the well being.
Since organic learning was the original pathway to organizing ourselves to be in the world, it can be the pathway to recovering our ability to lead a more productive and healthy life. We have a chance to explore anew, to get on the floor and use our capacity for awareness and mindfulness to grow again, no matter what our age. This can reduce our self-interference, our pains and disabilities.
By honing our observation of ourselves, we are led gently and securely to a new life path with access to an release of imprisoned spontaneity. The result is the ability to become increasingly confident in taking charge of the direction and dimensions of one's life.
This is the essential message of Feldenkrais. It is up to us to use it.