Alexander directions help make us more aware of ourselves in our environment, enabling a break in reactions, and offering us a way out of the rut of our habitual way of being.
Directions enable change by bringing our use into focus.
This original idea is that we have some control over the us that we are. Directions make us sentient in a particularly useful way. We are not prisoners to who we think we are but have a practical way to approach ourselves. We can be subject and object of our experiments – not rats blindly treading the same mill because we have always done so.
So just as we can use a pencil well or stupidly, we can use ourselves well or stupidly, and direction gives us the possibility to change both.
The point is to stop and direct! And give it a moment to work.
Living with direction is a great way to monitor and guide our own use according to a blueprint that is more appropriate and constructive for us. This makes us better people, helps us perform better, and we are happier.
The problem with goals and philosophies, resolutions and targets, is that they are not related to how we are using ourselves in this moment, which after all is the only time we can have any effect on ourselves at all. Direction, by contrast, gives us a compass, helping us adjust ourselves constantly … with beneficial results that we very soon discover.
The number of directions is infinite, limited only to our imaginations. Experiment will lead us to those that are most helpful, though these can change over time.
Here are some directions I find consistently useful
- Where am I now?
- A Universal Field of Awareness
- I have time
- Think up!
- Be conversational or relational, in ongoing interaction
How to apply them?
Prior to any possibility for thinking a direction we must pause, giving space and time for the direction to work. Note that these directions are all real, in the sense that they should be remembered and allowed in us in the here and now, just as we can know where home is without looking there. It is no good just saying them without a sense of their meaning. Also, we must think but not do them.
They all have the effect of connecting us to ourselves and ourselves to this moment. They are a reminder that we exist. What a great way to counter end-gaining! And absent-mindedness! And mindless self-harming. And agitation. And negativity, it turns out.