In my Alexander Technique group we were talking about standing upright. The teacher was explaining that uprightness isn't anything that you have to do. It is something that happens when you get out of the way and allow it to occur. Releasing little blockages or holding patterns that have developed over the years frees the body to become upright because that is its natural position. In essence, she was saying that when you let of what you don't need, you will find what you do.
The idea of getting out of your own way so that what is authentic can emerge has been tumbling inside my head for the past several months. Candace Pert, a molecular biologist, wrote about the body being the unconscious mind. Might it not then be true that when we let go of limiting beliefs that more natural posture and movement will also emerge? And when we inhibit the protective holding and gripping constraints that we have accumulated and allow our bodies to open and lengthen, will not more authentic beliefs accompany freer movement?
In his poem The Open Road, Walt Whitman wrote:
"Divesting myself of the holds that would hold me
I inhale great draughts of space,
The east and the west are mine,
and the north and the south are mine.
I am larger, better than I thought,
I did not know I held so much goodness."
Limiting beliefs, mind chatter, repetitive thoughts, and monkey mind are a few of the terms used to describe the mental 'holds that would hold' us, and they frequently operate beneath our conscious awareness. Quieting the mind means letting go of the noise and allowing a new emergence in the stillness. Releasing a habit of unconscious squeezing in the shoulders, or shallow breathing, or gripping in the jaw allows a new freedom of movement. I notice in yoga class that when a student relaxes and releases into a pose they have a much more productive experience than when they try To Do the pose. For many of us, this letting go seems a lot harder than holding onto old patterns. After all, we know what will happen if we continue to do what we have always done. Letting go means we face the unknown.
Perhaps if we become more willing to let go of our holds and embrace life as a flow, we, like Walt Whitman, will find more of our own goodness.