The Point of It: Big Questions


I like big questions. I was thinking about what drew me to Feldenkrais in the first place and part of it was the lack of fear the many trainers and Feldenkrais himself exhibited toward addressing big questions. Questions such as, what is a self-image? What influences our perception? What does it mean to evolve as a species? What does it mean to evolve as a person? What is stopping us? 

So for me Feldenkrais wasn't just a mechanical fix for bad posture or chronic pain. That was a collateral effect, but it was not the point. And some kind of mechanical instruction on how to move correctly would have bored me silly. Nor was it a relaxation tool for stress relief. Although again, it has that effect.

It was as if Feldenkrais found the one tangled thread that tugged on the center of my being and started to unravel it. It pulled on some preexisting yearning to feel empowered and liberated and no longer controlled by old reactions and patterns that seemed so rigid and fixed.

Appreciating Our Existence

I was recently listening to theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss about the nature of something versus nothing. When he said that we have been given the gift of consciousness, which leads to a remarkable ability to give meaning to our own lives, I paused. This remarkable gift of good fortune, he said, allows us to appreciate our own existence.

He says, "We can control our own existence, it's up to us, there's no one taking care of us, we need to take care of ourselves."

Similarly, in a very concrete way, Moshe Feldenkrais addressed the ancient question of how we mature, express, sense, and communicate our inner life to the rest of the world. "If you know what we are doing, you can do what you want," was his famous mantra.

The immediate retort of most people is, "Of course I know what I'm doing!" But do you really? We don't know what we don't know until we start to look a little deeper. In the beginning I was not sensing myself in a way that enabled me to appreciate my own existence. I didn't even come close because I was too much in my head.

Feldenkrais always said a mind without a body could not think. He believed that thinking and doing were intertwined with life itself.

This was true for me. Once I started to sense my actual presence in the world, not just as a bunch of thoughts I falsely believed I was hiding behind, but as someone who was alive and evolving and real, then I could appreciate my existence on a much deeper level. Feldenkrais is like the velveteen rabbit for humans in denial.

To my mind both Feldenkrais and Krauss encourage us to utilize our consciousness to its full potential. It is only when we acknowledge the profound gift that consciousness gives us, which is freedom itself, that we can evolve into taking care of ourselves, expressing ourselves, and appreciating our own existence.