F. M. Alexander, convinced that the Freudian thing was not going to be very long-lived, called his principle of mindful response, inhibition. Well, he may have been wrong about Freud, but he was spot on in the articulation of his principle of mindful waiting. Scientists the world over are telling us that thinking of movement is the richest myo-neural activity we can engage in. (When you see that prefix “myo,” think muscle.) When we think of movement and withhold compliance, when we think of a pitch and wait rather than lurching into the thing, the myo-neural system sings. It sings a song far richer than movement itself. The muscles are innervated, primed for movement. It’s simple. Today, when a stimulus occurs—a pitch, a word, a little blow, a bump, a jostle, or a touch—wait, consider your response. Wonders can occur.
I was walking my dog through a narrow construction pathway and we accidentally crowded another pedestrian. Why don’t you just run me off the sidewalk, the lady said. A defensive response welled up, and this once, I said no, and found myself saying, I’m sorry, That would make me mad too. It was accidental. Her anger melted and we said a few more conciliatory words and parted, both, I think, the better for the encounter.
Balderdash, you might say, that’s just being polite, being human. So is inhibition. It’s waiting on your better self, or choosing not to. Waiting, practicing F. M. Alexander’s principe of inhibition could be the best thing you do for your self today and for that other person you might be crowding in the way. Now, you’re going to write about that aren’t you, on my blog at alanbowers.com.