We need first to establish and be able to maintain consciously a state of good use of ourselves before attempting to change anything in we way we act in life or to correct any habit.
We could say without mistake that most people work on their personal development, in the sense that everybody, in one way or another, wishes to change something in oneself and uses some way or other that seems appropriate to achieve it. Some people work on changing themselves systematically and more seriously than others and among them some seek for help among recognized techniques.
I believe that any adult person has the possibility to a certain extent to free himself from habits that make his life more difficult that it should be. This feeling of dissatisfaction is a necessary starting point. A certain persistent dissatisfaction of our manner of doing things or of dealing with ourselves and life must be present, which will lead us to seek for solutions to overcome our difficulties.
It is obvious that we cannot do much to change directly the world or the others, but we can do a lot to change our own reactions.
Solutions do exist. There is no lack of psychotherapeutic approaches or techniques for self-management. There is obviously a need for them in the modern Western world.
As far as I am concerned, I will limit myself to say that it is in the human nature to seek happiness. This happiness depends on the knowledge we have of ourselves which will allow us to react to life for the best or the worse.
This knowledge of oneself comes first from studying oneself through non-judgmental and objective observation. This observation is not easy because in the course of life all our undesirable actions have become associated with physical reactions which are perceived as normal despite their harmful consequences for us. Because we are so little aware of these bodily patterns of reaction we constantly repeat the same mistakes and listen to the same weaknesses. That is why willing to do the right thing or to do something in the right way is not enough. Habits takes over and we do things as we usually have done them.
Something that escapes us comes in the way.
In the Alexander Technique this something is called “misuse”, meaning habitual patterns of neuro-muscular tensions that interfere with a proper relation of the neck with the head, and the rest of the body. And these patterns will become more and obvious through the lessons. And, bit by bit, the pupil will become able to maintain a certain state of balance in which there will be no room for these patterns, so that we can act without allowing these patterns to come in the way.
It is easy for nobody to do something contrary to his habits. It is even more difficult and sometimes impossible with associated tensions in the neck area which disturb the mechanism of balance and coordination.
By freeing ourselves from these tensions, we give ourselves progressively the possibility to become more aware and to perceive more accurately our real state. With practice we learn to recognize soon enough the signs preceding our undesirable behaviors and become so more able to neutralize them.
When we become able to keep the body coordinated and to deal with undesirable tensions, we can see more clearly what makes it difficult for us to stick to our decisions. We can say that we have made a huge step forward when our inside enemies are no more invisible and the real conscious re-education or ourselves can begin efficiently.
This page is also available in: French