The ability to take a moment to pause before we start any activity, or before we react to any situation that presents itself, is very powerful. If we can learn to pause (just for a split second – not even noticeable to anyone else) we then have a moment of choice. We’re not just acting or reacting automatically – in our habitual way. Instead we can act consciously and intentionally.
This ability is probably the most important thing we learn in the Alexander Technique – and is a principle at the very heart of why the Alexander Technique works! If we do not learn to pause mentally we will miss the opportunity to choose the way we want to act and be stuck in our habitual way of doing things. We’ll lose that moment of possibility for change.
The idea of pausing is not new to most people. In fact it comes through in our language – look before you leap and think before you speak are two sayings that come to mind immediately. However, for me the Alexander Technique takes this to a whole other level. We learn to use this pause to help us identify and change the subtlest habits of tension and posture that infiltrate the way we move and react throughout our day.
A pause is powerful because it gives us the opportunity to:
- be present to ourselves right now, rather than jumping ahead
- assess the situation and different options on how to proceed
- make a reasoned choice of how we react
- act with intention rather than on automatic pilot
What if you pause right now while you’re reading this blog? Take a moment and notice your feet on the floor, notice the contact you have with the chair you’re sitting on, become aware of your breath flowing in and out of your body, and look around at the space around you. On just this simple level, did just stopping for a moment and being aware of yourself in this present moment change anything at all?
Do you have times in your life where you’ve been able to successfully pause and rethink how you want to react for the better? Can you think of specific triggers that cause you to react in a way you’d like to change? Would a moment to pause be useful?
Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.