Applications - A Balanced Life
"The hands and feet differ in their duties, the internal organs differ in their functions. They never associate with one another, yet the hundred parts of the body are held together by them in a common unity. This is the way they associate through non-association. They never cooperate and yet both internally and externally, all complete one another. This is the way they cooperate through non-cooperation."
Fung Yu-lan - Chuang-tzu chu (tr. Bodde) The Chinese characters above depict the ancient concept of wu wei, loosely translated as "actionless action", that absence of strain or effort we see prevailing throughout nature. This philosophy is clearly reflected in Alexander's own ideas of non-doing, that "when you stop doing the wrong thing, the right thing does itself".
We all recognise when things are working smoothly like this - it is there in the actions of a performer with great natural skill, in the easy adaptability of an animal to it's surroundings, and in the free, easy movement of a young child. The ability to consciously direct how we go about things brings with it a sense of confidence and spontaneity into our lives, a feeling that we genuinely have a range of choices within any given situation instead of being stuck with a fixed set of reactions.
In lessons we learn how to stop working against ourselves, and instead how to make a reasoned, appropriate response to what is happening. Awareness reawakens to include a sense of not only how we are balanced within our bodies, but also how we are relating to what is going on around us. This open quality of attention brings real flow into our mental and physical actions, all aspects at ease with one another without conflict.