Let's Get Psychophysical - Newsletter #8
Aiming for Alignment
Hello, it’s Kevin.
Here is your weekly list of 5 things I’ve found that promote wholeness, integration and “waking up” - rather than fragmentation, dis-integration and falling asleep.
This week’s newsletter is on alignment.
If you want to align your life - or your posture - it helps to have a definite aim that directs all of your movements towards the same goal.
Otherwise you will just be a pinball, stuck in a machine, getting knocked around all over the place.
This week I reread the only self-help book that has ever changed my life.
I’ve read a few self-help books over the years, but nothing really changed except the number of hairs on my head.
The Miracle of a Definite Chief Aim
by Mitch Horowitz
This book hit me differently. Yes, I know it has a bit of a cheesy title, and yes it was inspired by another book with a cheesy title, Think and Grow Rich (which I’ve read but couldn’t make work because I will never have a “burning obsession for money”- it just isn’t what drives me.) But—
The Miracle of a Definite Chief Aim changed the direction of my life. It cancelled out a bad idea I had picked up from another self-help book years ago, The Four Hour Work Week, which makes a virtue out of fragmenting yourself, taking on multiple projects, and separating money from meaning. This works for some people, not me.
The result was I had a very small internet business (to make passive income so I could do what I want!) AND a very small teaching practice (my mission and what I actually wanted to do full time once I made all the money!)
Looking back now, it was absurd: I was already doing what I wanted to do. In reality, I was preventing myself from doing more of what I really wanted to do (and getting paid for it!) all the while convincing myself that I was moving in the right direction.
But I wasn’t moving forward at all. I was constantly looking from side to side. My aim was indefinite.
“So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
Revelation 3:16-18. King James Version
Something clicked while reading The Miracle of a Definite Chief Aim. I immediately quit my half-hearted internet business and decided to get serious about teaching the psychophysical techniques and helping people NOW - not waiting for some perfect time later.
As soon as I made a firm decision things started happening around me. You might have experienced this: unlikely lucky breaks, synchronicities, the right people appearing at just the right time etc. It’s fun.
When you start moving purposely towards your aim, things get pulled into your orbit and you become more attractive to the right things.
You can take a mystical view of this, or a down to earth view, it doesn’t matter (I take both at the same time!) But many people who have really committed themselves in a single direction say similar things to me here.
What we are talking about is alignment. Or because alignment sounds a little too static, let’s make it more dynamic and call it:
We need to align our movements - through time - not just in space. Our aim is not a fixed position. We are always moving towards it and this is how we become aligned. As they say, it is easier to ride a bike if you keep moving forward. If you stop you will fall off. To one of the sides.
Once you have a “definite chief aim” it is much easier to organise and regulate all your other behaviours. Just ask yourself: does this move me towards my aim, or away from my aim?
The same principle applies to posture and coordination. Your body parts won’t just get into alignment all by themselves. The movements of the parts need to be regulated according to a central, organising aim. If you don’t know what this aim is, you don’t have one.
But his guiding aim is not “in” your body. It has to come from YOU the conscious, reasoning being. This is what it means to be psychophysical.
In the 1-1 lessons I teach you how to aim the movements of the different parts, so the result is a better, stronger posture.
This short video is amazing.
It shows how the solar system is not in a fixed position. The sun is always moving through space, and planets are pulled into order around it. Align-ing-ing-ing….
I don’t know what the sun’s “definite chief aim” is - but it doesn’t seem lukewarm.
Many Movements, ONE Action.
“The whole psycho-physical tendency of the person who believes that concentration is essential to success, and adopts and develops it as a practice in his efforts in different spheres of activity, is “to bring the mind to bear on one object.” This exactly fits the “end-gaining” principle, and is antagonistic to the “means-whereby” principle which calls for the ability to bring the mind to bear on a dozen or more objects if necessary, and which implies a number of things, all going on, and converging to a common consequence (continuous projection of orders).”
F. Matthias Alexander; Constructive Conscious Control of the Individual
I love this image because it is the exact opposite of how I think and teach.
“Build the body you want.” One part at a time! This is like thinking you can solve a Rubik’s cube one side at a time… if I can just get all the blues done, then all the yellows…
The postural system is complex - you can’t just change one part at a time and hope they all somehow “add up” to the correct alignment later.
Your posture functions as a whole and can only be fundamentally changed as a whole.
The geometry of bad posture.
The purpose of this simple experiment is to start thinking about postural alignment in terms of geometry.
I teach my pupils to analyse the shape of the structure as a whole, not the feeling of the parts.
Get two pieces of paper, both the same size. Place on sheet on top of the other - so they are perfectly aligned.
Next, fold one piece in half, and then open it out again. There will be a line down the middle deforming the paper. Place this piece on top of the other piece. The line will create an upside down “v” shape, sticking up in the middle.
You will notice that the two ends of the top paper can’t reach both of the two ends of the lower paper. The top paper is now shorter from end to end because it is “bent” in the middle.
Now push the upside down “v” flat with your palm until you can align both ends of the top paper with the bottom paper. The top paper has become longer - from end to end - because it is no longer “bent” in the middle.
Let’s apply this model to your upright posture. Look at an image of you standing side-on. If your lower back is curved either outward (slouching), or curved inward (lordosis) then you are no longer at your full length- just like the folded paper.
Therefore— you are making yourself shorter!
Have fun align-ing-ing-ing…
Thanks for reading,
Learn how to transform your posture by giving your body a “definite chief aim.”
Don’t just let the parts do their own thing and hope for the best. You need to always be align-ing-ing-ing. I will teach you exactly how I do it, 1-to-1 over zoom.
Book a Posture Consultation & Body Audit - reply to this email, or message me on Twitter.