Last week, Robert Rickover of The Complete Guide to the Alexander Technique interviewed me for a podcast about a centering exercise I like which helps us to stay present to ourselves and balanced in the present moment. Here is the link: Living with Ease at the Center of Everything.
This is a wonderful tool to bring poise, calm, and peace to your being – especially for people who are chronic “end-gainers” (see below). I highly recommend that you listen and try out the exercise, particularly if you:
- tend to rush around a lot, in a constant hurry
- feel like you have too much to do and not enough time
- suffer from performance anxiety
- frequently worry about the future
- have difficulty relaxing and letting go into the present moment
- have a meditation practice, but would like to learn how to embody the peace it brings you
- don’t have a meditation practice, but would like to learn how to feel centered and calm in mind and body
- would like to know how to stay balanced while playing your instrument
End-gaining: There’s a concept in the Alexander Technique called “end-gaining”, which is the “universal habit we have to keep our mind and actions focused on an end result whilst losing sight of, and frequently at the expense of, the means-whereby the result is achieved” (F. M. Alexander ~ The Use of the Self) .
This is related to society’s love of instant gratification and the excessive ambition of the individual; this attitude causes us to rush through life with a lack of mindful awareness, without fully enjoying and relaxing into the present moment.
Alexander noticed that when we have a goal (“end”) in mind, we tend to want to achieve it quickly; our habitual tendency is to over-focus on the goal and under-focus on what he called the “means-whereby” we need in order to achieve it.
This over-focusing on our future desires tends to throw us off balance, and introduces quite a bit of unnecessary tension in us, as we literally lean forward into the future (or pull back away from it if thoughts of the future creates a startle response – or performance anxiety – in us, which also creates excess tension and imbalance). When we “end-gain”, we are not centered and balanced in mind-body-self.
I’d love to hear what you think of the podcast exercise. I’d love your feedback!
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