To explore issues around understanding the Feldenkrais Method we need some definition of what the Method consists of. I don’t believe a formal definition is feasible; instead I’m going to suggest somewhat loose and fluid boundaries to the territory that contains it. Not everyone will agree with my choices, and that is part of the problem we face in trying to describe and understand it.
The obvious starting place is with the ideas and techniques that Moshe Feldenkrais specifically taught. I’ll refer to these as his direct teachings. They constitute, in some important sense, the core of the Method, but even this core is not well-defined and universally agreed to within the profession. Moshe did not teach a formalized system that can be clearly and unambiguously spelled out. Instead, he taught a broad and revolutionary way of perceiving and understanding human functioning, drawing on his own wide-ranging background and experience. People internalize and apply that way of understanding in ways that match with their own interests, experience, and cognitive styles. Continue reading Defining the Feldenkrais Method
For the past quarter-century I’ve been engaged in the practice of the Feldenkrais Method, a revolutionary approach to human development created by Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli physicist, engineer, and deep thinker about the nature of being human. Over that time the number of Feldenkrais practitioners has grown, from less than one hundred when I began to study with Moshe to several thousand now. The evolution of that community of practitioners into a coherent profession is still in process, in part because the complexity and heterogeneity of the Method makes it difficult to achieve consensus on just what it is that we do and what the profession should look like.
This series of posts will explore the question of knowing the Feldenkrais Method, from a practitioner’s point of view, or perhaps more accurately, the meta-question of understanding the ways in which practitioners might know the Method. I want to look, in particular, at the kinds of individual knowing that might usefully serve a practitioner in her practice, as well as the kinds of collective knowing that might usefully serve the practitioner community as a whole in defining the profession and in understanding the collective activity in which we are all engaged.
Continue reading Ways of knowing Feldenkrais
Think of experience as having two primary components, perception and action. Perception includes those processes through which you know yourself and the world around you — vision, hearing, proprioception (body awareness, balance, position in space, movement), intellectual and intuitive understanding, etc. Action encompasses what you do to interact with that world — getting a drink when you’re thirsty, moving away from a threat or toward an opportunity, buying a car, making love, etc. Perception and action are not as distinct as giving them two different labels makes them seem, of course. Your actions are among the things you perceive, and perception itself involves choices that result in actions that contribute to perception, such as how you organize your awareness and where you focus attention. Perception and action are intimately intertwined aspects of the complex process which is human experiencing.
We’ll examine the information flows involved in composing experience using a framework I call the Perceptual Process Model. This framework builds on and extends ideas developed in The Reality Illusion. There I focused primarily on perception, whereas here we will also examine action as a component of experience, and somatic organization as the ground that underlies our actions. We’ll eventually consider the nature of emotional experience as well, where action and perception are combined in an unusual way.
Continue reading The Perceptual Process Model