Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our "control center" in the brain

The brain is, in a certain sense, the "control center" for the rest of the body.  Our mind's awareness can be placed anwhere, including in the brain and other parts of the body.  Because the brain is the source of messages sent via the nervous system to other parts of the body, if we wish to have better conscious control over ourselves (body, movements, emotions, etc.), it makes sense to place our awareness in the brain.  The part of the brain behind and above the forehead is called the prefrontal cortex (PFC).  This is the area of the brain that sets goals, makes plans, inhibits and directs action.  This is the "driver's seat", or the "airtraffic control center" for having constructive, conscious control over the rest of us.

  • Experiment with placing your awareness in different parts of your body.  Notice what happens to the rest of your body and/or your mood as you focus on one part.  Don't try too hard, just observe. It is possible to "concentrate hard" on a part of the body with an intense focus, or with a light and gentle, open awareness.
  • Do you notice a difference between focusing on the prefrontal cortex (area of the brain behind and above the forehead) with (a) a forceful, intense concentration, and (b) an open awareness with a very subtle, gentle touch?
  • With your awareness remaining subtly placed in the PFC, can you very gently open up this awareness of being "forward and up" in your brain, to extend outwards in a forward and up direction?  
Rising up to the PFC with gentle, open awareness takes practice and constant renewal of intention.  But the effort is well worth the rewards!  Knowing how to live consciously in our physical "control center" means that we are well-situated to be in the "driver's seat" of our entire life, and it is an essential element to  learning constructive conscious control of the individual, which is what Alexander strove to teach with his technique.

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