Thursday, November 12, 2009
Feelings, mental state and the body
The body is a hugely complicated organism or maybe I should say the body/mind is a hugely complicated organism.
I think most people think that the mind "controls" the body, but actually its more like a symbiotic relationship. It may seem contradictory but the mind and body seem to be both one and the same and reflect each other. I mean to say that what happens in the body is reflected in the body and vice versa.
There are so many things going on in the body at any given time that you can't every hope to control it. You can mentally focus on one tiny thing and control it, but what is happening to the rest of your body while you are lost in controlling one aspect.
The rest of the things happening in your body are influenced or affected by your mental state or your emotions. If you are feeling anger, you can't just tell your body to relax. It can't happen. If you are agitated, so is your body. If you are trying to learn to fight, but you feel anxious, your body can't do the things it will need to do. The same goes for any activity.
This is why it can be so frustrating to learn new skills sometimes. If you think you can't play music or have no rhythm, then you will be tense when you try to play a piano. Your mental tension will be reflected in the body, or you could say that it is all the same thing and you can't separate the two.
This tension will mean that you can never connect to the activity you are trying to do. Certainly you will learn to fake it better, but it will never inspire you or anyone else until you get in the proper state.
Sometimes it happens naturally or by accident. It took an injury for me to do it in wing chun. But usually it never happens before the person quits the activity.
Of course there are some activities like human interaction you can't quit, so a person may just isolate themselves or just be awkward socially forever.
So, what does all this mean? It means you have to deal with the mental state before you engage in an activity, during the activity and after. Hell, you need to monitor your mental state all the time. Eventually, you can learn to just decide to be in a certain mental state.
To get started, get ready to do an activity like singing (this is what led to the creation of the Alexander Technique) and see what happens to you physically. Does your body start to tense up before you actually do the activity. You need to be completely relaxed and happy and direct your attention outward and not inward. Then start doing the activity with no expectation to do well. When you feel yourself getting tense or not having fun, stop. Start over and just have fun. Getting better comes from completely engaging in an activity.
How would you do the activity if it were easy or it came naturally? Stop worrying about outcome, you are exactly as good as you are. Trying doesn't make you better, it gets in the way of you doing the activity. You can't "try" and be engaged. Trying is just tension. Do and let what happens happen.
Always let yourself feel and express that feeling. Bottling the emotion results in tension and eventually disease and insanity. You have no choice but to experience emotion, its a side effect of life and kind of the whole point.