A fine balance is required in the performing arts. Attention must be divided among essential specifics, and simultaneously be united towards coordinated performance. Too much attention on one aspect is as disastrous as too little.
When musicians perform, we consciously initiate certain aspects of coordination and action. Many more processes are managed outside of our consciousness. Some, we can learn to become aware of, and we may learn to directly modify these.
When we practice Alexander Technique, we are being mindful. Since ‘mindful’ means different things to different people, it is worth considering just what kind of attention Alexander Technique is calling for. There is a parallel with some streams of mediation practice. Learning from Zen traditions, we can use FM Alexander’s principles to refine a healthy mindful attitude.
It is quite easy to become absorbed in a task and lose a sense of body. After some time, the body may assert its neglect in stiffness or soreness. In early stages, it seems Alexander Technique trains us to be aware of ourselves - body and mind - whilst we undertake any activity. A deeper level exists where Alexander Technique becomes a force integrating technique, body, mind and artistry in action.
There is a story of a zen monk who approached his teacher after reaching a great realisation:
“Master, I have attained enlightenment! What should I do now?”
The master replied: “Have you finished your rice porridge? Then you should wash your bowl!”