What is Sensory Awareness?
The experience of peace, health and power in the individual is the beginning of a peaceful, healthy society. For many of us a most direct way to this experience is through Sensory Awareness, a practice in which we can rediscover our natural balance, self-confidence and oneness with ourselves and others.
What we do in this practice seems very simple, considering the far-reaching influence it can have in all aspects of living. Living is movement. A quiet, undivided and uncritical attention to how movement takes place in us can tell us how we live our lives. Such attention is a basic way to "know thyself" wholly, within our own organism and within its relationship to everything within the environment. It is a basic way to free ourselves for infinite possibilities: new ways of seeing and hearing, of thinking and relating, new ways of being creative, contributing members of society.
In Sensory Awareness sessions we attend to what happens in quiet, basic movements: how breathing comes and goes as we lie, sit or stand, and its interaction with the larger movements of coming from lying to standing, or walking, etc. We notice what it asks of us to lift something such as a small stone, to give it to another or receive it when it is given to us. We notice how we get ready to move, how we interact with the physical support of floor or chair, where energy develops, and what part is played by gravity, that force which connects us to the earth at every moment. Do we waste our energy straining against an immutable law of nature? Or can we allow conscious experiencing of this unchanging pull to help us come into alignment, reduce stress and conserve our energy in both resting and working?
As we follow these experiments over a period of time, muscles may become more elastic, aches and pains fade, "mental" problems change, our perspective on life changes, as may our relationships with others. But the underlying intent is an open-ended one: simply to experience what happens in every part of us - in all of us - as we move and breathe and interact in the situation of the moment. Then we can discover where that experience could lead.
Such revealing, life-enhancing experience of movement, and what it tells us of our attitudes and behavior, comes to our awareness through the sensory nervous system- if we can allow that system to function as intended. The capacity to be consciously aware of immediate experience is inherent in the human being, just as is walking and talking. But often conditioned, habitual attitudes, embedded in our tissues as physical tensions, prevent this capacity form fulfilling itself.
Parents, teachers and society provide an environment for our learning to walk and talk. But, more often than not, they impose on us their prejudices about reality and propriety. This hinders our capacity for perceiving reality for ourselves, for allowing unconditioned awareness of sensory information. Recovering this ability as adults requires a special kind of attentive practice, a kind of meditation in action.
In Sensory Awareness we can shed hindering fears and tensions, becoming ever more aware of what is actually happening in and around us. Then we can begin to function more fully in ourselves and in the world, as parents, friends and co-workers, artists of all kinds, therapists, doctors, nurses, business persons, politicians, educators - as human beings.
Like the participants in most workshops and classes, leaders come form many different backgrounds. But the aim of the practice is always the same - to recover our birthright: awareness; responsiveness; the capacity to really rest, regenerate, move and work with joy and power. Only then can we allow a personal change toward equilibrium, confidence and peacefulness. Only then can the needed change take place in society.
The phrase Sensory Awareness was coined by Charlotte Selver for the practice which she brought to the United States from Germany in 1938. The basis for this practice originated in the early 1900's with Elsa Gindler, a teacher of Harmonische Gymnastik in Berlin. While working alone to cure herself of TB, Gindler made startling discoveries about the fundamental laws which govern the functioning of the human organism in its totality, within itself and in its relationship to the earth. Until her death in 1961, Gindler continued to develop the work arising out of these discoveries along with her colleague, the innovative musician and educator, Heinrich Jacoby.
Jacoby's thesis was that every human being is born with the biological equipment for every natural function, and that these include all possibilities of living, experiencing and creating. Unrealized possibilities for receiving impressions and allowing expression in every mode can continue to unfold for us all through our lives - if we are not hindered by inappropriate attitudes. Gindler had already discovered that one's attitudes are manifested in the physical tissue as well as in abstract thought. She set up situations in which her students might consciously experience a state of "being in balance" which was neither "physical" nor "mental", but both, and more than that.
Mittwoch, 9. Mai 2001
Ursprünglich Musiker, erforschte Heinrich Jacoby allgemein Fragen der biologischen Ausstattung des Menschen und der sogenannten Begabung. Er studierte Voraussetzungen für die Entfaltung und Nachentfaltung menschlicher Funktionsmöglichkeiten und Ursachen, die zu Störungen in der Entfaltung dieser Möglichkeiten führen. Heinrich Jacoby orientierte sich dabei an den Funktionsweisen des menschlichen Organismus und an den Gesetzmässigkeiten unmittelbar überzeugender menschlicher Lebensäusserungen. Er konnte zeigen, dass das Niveau der Entfaltung und die Qualität der Leistungen vom jeweiligen Verhalten bestimmt sind.