online: 9 october 2005
modified: 8, 29 october 2005

8 october 2005 a universal constant

11:43 Saturday morning.

At a loss (not knowing how to proceed in my new place) i decided to choose, from the 30 or so of my books that are unpacked, something to read.

Consciously choosing 17 of these i used a chance process to select one of them - Walter Carrington's Thinking Aloud* - and within that to select by chance a chapter called 'The Demand of the Constant'... i took the book back to read on my bed, i wondered if or how it might help me resolve a ... dilemma - that of feeling unenthusiastic in my new circumstance and unable to arouse myself to constructive action today.

And then i read the chapter.

The ' universal constant' to which Walter Carrington refers is gravity! The constant necessity of remaining upright and of acting at all times in a field of force pulling downwards. We have always to aspire to move upwards, he says, to direct our energies thus, and to overcome the tendency to collapse, to lose poise, to fall into downward postures, attitudes or habits that may have become comfortable but are often damaging.

Here is a chance-selected quotation:

The [Alexander]technique is ... about reaction in living. What Alexander means by reaction is that there are all sorts of situations that require that we respond in some way, that we do something, and what is at issue is the way we respond. That is what he is referring to when he talks about reaction in living.

'It has not been realized,' Alexander says in The Universal Constant in Living, 'that the influence of the manner of use [of the self] is a constant one upon the general functioning of the organism in every reaction and during every moment of life, and that this influence can be harmful or it can be a beneficial one.'

This is enough, i think, to reveal Walter Carrington's way of speaking about the Alexander technique - and of its astonishing relevance to everything one does.

And now, having read this text of the moment, and while still writing about it in this my public writing place, i feel rescued from inertia and downwardness, and enabled, here and now, to view my new circumstance from the viewpoint of poise and connectiveness, not inertia and collapse!

And i wondered (as i read that chapter propped up by pillows on my bed) if reading (a process which takes one away from conscious attention to circumstance) is incompatible with right use of one's body? While reading a long text i have to seek the artificial support of a chair or a bed... so is it because of reading that so many of us become bent (and thus unhealthy) in everyday posture and in action?

* Walter Carrington, Thinking Aloud,thoughts on teaching the Alexander Technique, edited by Jerry Sontag, Mornum Time Press, San Francisco, 1994, ISBN 0-9644352-0-9.

See also several other digital diary entries in which Walter Carrington is mentioned:
unable to integrate, 27 may 2001,
anti-gravity, 19 may 2004,
old/new and new/old, 13 april 2005,
Walter Carrington, 20 september 2005.

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