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WEEKLY STUDY TEXTS   Weeks 1 - 10 


Week 9




When I look at what Alexander said in his books, I am most impressed with what he said about the importance of relying on one’s reasoning as a source of guidance rather than one’s feeling-sense interpretation.



People are so accustomed to the belief that they are “guided by feelings” and so committed to the process of judging their results immediately upon completion of a given act (or sooner) as part of their usual protocols that they become quite uncomfortable with the suggestion that they stop, slow down, and see what they are really doing.





Because of its long familiarity, Alexander reasoned that the sensory experience associated with his old use would not only FEEL right when he moved in a familiar way, but performing the act in this way would be judged by him as BEING right which would, in turn, make him feel as though “HE” was RIGHT”.


The sensory experience associated with his new use would be generated by different actions and movements from those he had done before, thereby exciting different static position recognition sensors. As a result, performing actions with his new use would necessarily send back different feeling-sense data to his central nervous system. This would enhance the probability that performing the same act in this new way would feel different from performing it in the customary way.


And what was true for Alexander is true for all of us. Because the act “feels” different when performed in this new way, and because the judgement of “feeling” associated with performing the act in the old way IS right, performing the act in this new way is judged by most of us as BEING WRONG.


It is not simply enough to recognise that the movement performed in this way would FEEL wrong. Feeling in these cases is only the means to reach a decision about how we are doing. We leap from the “feeling right”-ness of a familiar action to the conclusion that we ourselves ARE RIGHT – when we move in that way. Because our new manner of movement is being judged against the “kinaesthetic coordinates” of previous performances, and because we have invested our relative scale are feeling-sense interpretation with an absolute authority to tell us how we are doing, any new movement which does not match up with the feeling sense of previous performances not only FEELS WRONG, but is judged to BE wrong.


When Alexander looked further into his situation, you saw that for months he have been trying to employ his new use while at the same time relying upon the by-products of his old instinctive misdirection and manner of use to judge his success.



In the process of using his old misdirection to judge the quality and nature of his performance, he had re-initiated this misdirection as a source of directive guidance. By using his old instinctive misdirection and manner of use to judge his success in carrying out his new directions, he brought his old misdirection into play. No wonder he failed more often than not in changing his manner of use! By bringing into operation very thing he was trying to prevent, he was guaranteeing the enduring success of his continual failure.




As Alexander wrote,


This meant that I must be prepared to carry on with any procedure I had reasoned out as my best for my purpose, even though that procedure procedure might feel wrong”





By changing from a reliance on feelings as a guide or a source of immediate judgement to reliance on the procedures he agrees and out as best for his purpose, he had to change completely the person he used to be. He had to shift from relying on his “feelings” and his sense of BEING RIGHT for guidance, to relying on the use of his conscious, reasoning mind to see and project what each activity required, to plan an appropriate strategy, and to send out the commands necessary for the implication of the strategy.To achieve reliance upon his reasoning processes would take something more than just the desire to carry out his new directions. To achieve reliance upon his reasoning processes would require a commitment in defiance of both his past and his past feelings. To achieve reliance upon his reasoning processes would require trust – a genuine trust.


“In other words, my trust in my reasoning processes to bring me safely to my end must be a genuine trust, not a half trust needing the assurance of feeling right as well.”

F.M. Alexander





There is nothing wrong with being wrong.

We are all wrong sometimes, just as we are alright at other times.

We all make mistakes. We all make good decisions. We all do well. We all do poorly.

Most of the time our errors have little consequence and, even when there are consequences, it is only rarely that the problem is can’t be fixed. But, too often, too many of us treat every little mistake as a catastrophe. I know this feeling of disaster comes about as a result of feeling challenged and insecure, but even if we are challenged to the core, there is no way that we can avoid being wrong at times.


But, that’s okay because there is nothing wrong with being wrong.Just as there is nothing wrong with failure.What is important in life is not failure or success. All of us will enjoy both throughout our lives. What is important in life lies in having an idea of what we want to do and be, and performing the steps necessary to make these dreams come true.


If we are satisfied with ourselves and our lives, then there is really no need for us to change. The vast majority of people I encounter fit into this category. If you question them, they will tell you that they might want a bigger TV or a longer vacation or their backs to hurt a little less after gardening. But, if you show them what they would need to do to reach these goals, much more often than not they will tell you that they would just as soon let it go.


For the rest of us, we believe that as good as our lives have become, there may be something more. As much as we have achieved, there may be more for us to do. As much as we have matured and grown as individuals, there may be a better person yet to come. For us, the acquisition of new knowledge and new ways to improve ourselves becomes a joy that surpasses the cost of the acquisition. For us the potential of learning how to change in constructive and valuable ways is worth the price in time, money, and discipline required. For us, the value of picking up new tools and ideas that will help us reach our goals is worth the heartache and momentary insecurity of putting down but we have believed and held dear.


But, it is not easy. It will take time. It will take effort.It will take discipline. It will take trust.


It will take the same kind of genuine trust about which Alexander speaks. The kind of genuine trust to put aside your “stuff” – the things which you believe or feel to be true – long enough to put into action the procedures you have reason out as best for your purpose.


But how will I know I am doing it right? my students plead.   


By measuring your performance against the concepts of your intent long after the action has been performed. Then, you will make judgements about your degree of success. Then you will make judgements about how well you carried out your plan. Then, you’ll make judgements about how appropriate your plan was to your goals. But, judgements do not have to be judgemental. Neither do they have to occur NOW. LATER will be fine.


But how will I know I am doing it right?


You won’t. You can’t.


I’m not even sure that there is a right way to do this work.


I do know that there are a number of discoveries that Alexander made, a number of procedures that he devised, a number of skills that he acquired through the implementation of those procedures, and a number of mental disciplines that he developed. I also know that if I simply do the same things that Alexander did, follow the same procedures, acquire the same skills, discipline my mind in the same ways– that is, as long as I do what he did – I cannot help but acquire at least the same degree of conscious guidance and control which he enjoyed.


But, how will I know I’m doing it right?


It’s not as important to be right, as it is to be consistent and persevere.


In beginning classes, we sometimes talk about how "thinking" leads to movement and movement leads to change. We talk about how people are always in a hurry to take some new impression of feeling or understanding back into the commands that they are using to direct themselves rather than staying with the ordered directions they have reasoned out as best for their purpose.


In doing this work there are certain things you will train yourself to “think” as you go into activity. If the activity is successful, you will ‘think’ these same things again as you go into an activity. If the activity you have performed is unsuccessful, however, YOU MUST “think” THESE SAME THINGS AGAIN. That’s the part that students rarely understand





The reason why your immediate judgement of your success is relatively unimportant is that your degree of immediate success is relative compared to the importance of the process of discipline you are trying to develop.If your plan is appropriate to reaching your goals and you develop the mental discipline necessary to carry out your plan, in time, you cannot avoid success.It is inevitable.



…immediate lack of success is not enough reason to change your procedures or give up.



Just as it is poor trust that requires the assurance of feeling right, it is even poorer trust that requires immediate gratification or success.





The best I can be requires genuine trust.


I must trust in any procedure that I have reasoned out as best for my purpose even when the procedure might feel wrong or make me feel that I am wrong when I use it. I must trust in my reasoning processes to bring me safely to my dreams.

(These extracts are taken from the book, 'What You Think Is What You Get'' by Donald Weed) 




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