The Use Of The Self

Johnie comments:

It took me the best part of 15 years to figure out direction and inhibition – everything I needed to know was in “Use Of The Self” which is the first AT book I purchased years ago.

I needed the help of “Don Weeds – What you think is what you get” to actually believe what I was being told in UoS. Don’s book was not so much a source of new information but an enabler to allow me to actually have sufficient faith in UoS to commit properly to it.

Alexander rated his best teacher as his brother whom he taught verbally – unless he held back on us we have to assume that UoS contains all we need to know or at least all we need to start off with.

I have been able to parrot FM [Alexander] aphorisms for many years but it was only after Don Weed’s book told me that I was already looking at the answers in UoS (Use of the Self) that I understood them properly. We can do what Alexander did if we do what he did – problem is it takes around 15 years to get to the level of belief and commitment that we are actually really prepared to do even a fraction of what he did.

Verbally – put into words my AT knowledege has not increased greatly over the years, I could parrot the major texts then and I could parrot them now – the only difference that has really happened is that I finally learnt to believe and trust and follow what was written in UoS.

I am glad to say I now do what he did about 20% of my waking time and even that has advanced me more than any of my other countless AT books. UoS is the knowledge. We are all familiar with telling someone something when they go “Yeah yeah yeah yeah” after each sentance we say ( impatiently) and then they try to stop us and say “Yup I get it – you can stop now” and we walk away knowing that they did not get it – they heard the words we said but they did not hear what we said because they thought they knew better, they thought they could fast track or use our experience to spring board forwards without having to do the study or discipline. That person is me for the last 15 years although I never heard myself say “yeah” and I thought I held FM’s wisdom in high regard but the truth is I did not hear what he said because I preferred the fast track versions that others offered.

Regards Inhibition – I think it is helpful not to STOP because we are entering the area of conflicting instruction ( STOP and yet give the order to GO – the classic hit the accelerator an brake pedal at the same time ). I prefer to view inhibitition as the refusal to act immediately not the refusal to act – that causes less conflict in the orders and so less tension.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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