Awareness through Movement, Moshe Feldenkrais

In families where children are judged primarily by their achievements, all spontaneity will disappear at an early age.

Individuals tend to identify their self-images with their value to society. [...] In this way society comes to be made of persons increasingly alike in their ways, behaviors, and aims. [...] there are few individuals who view themselves without reference to the value attributed to them by society. [...] so the individual tries to smooth out his biological peculiarities by alienating himself from his inherent needs. He strains to fit himself into the round hole that he now actively desires to fill.

Two states of existence: waking & sleeping. Third state: awareness.

Emile Coué used the moments when an individual is just falling asleep for autosuggestions and sleep itself for suggestion.

The waking state seems to be a good condition in which to learn processes that involve repetition and explanation, but not suggestion.

The choice of movement as the main means of improving the self is based on the following reasoning:

1. The nervous system is occupied mainly with movement

2. It is easier to distinguish the quality of movement

3. We have a richer experience of movement

4. The ability to move is important to self-value

5. All muscular activity is movement

6. Movements reflect the state of the nervous system

7. Movement is the basis of awareness

8. Breathing is movement

9. Hinges of habit

Our self-image consists of four components that are involved in every action: movement, sensation, feeling and thought.

Differentiate clearly between:

improvement of ability <=> sheer effort for its own sake

We overindulge in habits until self-criticism is silenced and our ability to discern is diminished, which gradually turns us into machines that act without thinking.

Identify unnecessary effort.

The ideal path of action for the skeleton as it moves from one position to another is the path through which it would move if it had no muscles at all, if the bones were linked only by ligaments.

You are not used to moving your shoulders without moving your head at the same time. (Uncoupling)

The true capacity of any nervous system can be estimated only by its individual characteristics - that is, man's own personality.

We are unable to use our bodies in any but accustomed patterns of muscular action.

When you rest after a movement carried out without much effort, it is not in order to regain strength, but to study the changes that have taken place during the action.

Our nervous system is so constructed that habits are preserved and seek to perpetuate themselves. It is easier to stop a habit by means of sudden traumatic shock than to change it gradually.

Attentive systematic scanning of a part of the body can relax superfluous muscular tension there.

If you try to reach the limits of your abilities every moment, you end up with little more than aching muscles and straining joints. When you strain for results, you make it impossible to achieve even a part of the improvement that can be obtained through the BREAKDOWN of HABITUAL PATTERNS of MOVEMENT and BEHAVIOR. (~Vippassana meditation, wisdom)

From time to time you should shake yourself out of your routine and ask yourself whether you are REALLY DOING that you think you are doing.

Effort that does not turn into movement, but causes shortening and stiffening, leads not only to a loss of energy, but to a situation in which the loss of energy causes damage to the body structure.

A self-image complete and uniform with respect to all parts of the body - all sensations, feelings and thoughts - is an ideal which has been difficult to achieve up to now in man's state of ignorance. (Nirvana ~ complete spontaneity without excess baggage from past experiences.)

The improvement of awareness is preferable to any attempt to overcome instinctive drives. For the more nearly complete a man's awareness becomes, the more he will be able to satisfy his passions without infringement of the supremacy of awareness. And every action will have become more human.