Wiser than we know
opinion, as we know when we are awake
that we are awake… We are wiser
than we know. If we will not interfere
with our thought, but will act entirely.Ralph Waldo Emerson
The nub of the matter
Growing towards fulfilment as an individual, it helps if we live with our bodies, honouring the self in our physical existence, present in our actions. That is the kernel of this book.
The story of our lives is told in the lines of our faces, the way we walk, our voices. My physical bearing expresses who I am and how I see the world. I awaken and mature, throughout my life, in the way I fashion and use my body as the instrument of my awareness and intentions.
We forget this depth of self because mind alone is so powerfully exclusive. We can become confined in certainties of outlook as well as in fears, each of us isolated in a body which is not truly part of our being.
The fullness of the self cannot be grasped by the intellect. We glimpse or touch this personal essence by letting go of restrictions – patterns of thought or behaviour which have helped us cope with life’s demands but which will have narrowed our horizons. This releasing can begin with my own movements and responses, my own muscles. To walk across a room to answer a ring at the door can be a simple opportunity to embody freedom and responsibility, to perform a satisfying act.
But if my words and ideas are to join in this search for the self, they will invite meaning, rather than define. That has been my method in this book – to let clear thought and images make shapes which the reader is invited to work with, to play with.
I believe that it suits our nature to be actively creating coherence in ourselves and in what we experience. To open up, to gather up diversity, is to sound out the self, and this sounding may include movements of my limbs and of my thinking. Both help me grow.
So, as you read, expect some wrestling.
This work is composed as two series, of ‘ essays’ (on the left sidebar) and ‘explorations’ (on the right sidebar), which in the printed form alternate. The essays collect and connect a wide range of ideas and references to do with the basic theme of the embodied self. The explorations are shorter, more focused pieces which are intended to stimulate your interest in your own way of moving and responding. The essays are wide and wandering, the explorations more active and practical. I hope the the move from one kind of engagement to the other will keep you curious.
The teachers who helped me find my way into the quiet of the Alexander Technique – Vida Hedley, Jamie McDowell, Michael Hardwicke, Joan Diamond and Penny Ingham.
Dorothy Anderson who worked faithfully over several years with my scruffy manuscript.
Christo Wallers who made the final version beautiful and usable on page and screen.
The people of Loch Arthur who supported me in pursuing my interests.
The Author – Bob Clay
I have lived for most of my adult life as a member of a Camphill community in Scotland. These communities create a way of life in which people, who may have been restricted in the scope of their lives by the label of disability, can contribute socially and develop inwardly.
The path of personal growth presented by Rudolf Steiner has been a fundamental influence in my life, infusing the work I have done in gardening, teaching and in various arts, particularly drama.
More recently I discovered the Alexander Technique and trained so that I can share this work with others as a teacher.
This book brings these strands of my life together in the hope of offering something of healing to our wounded world.