Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The quest is yours - if you have an open mind..., 9 Jun. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Constructive Awareness: Alexander Technique and the Spiritual Quest (Paperback)
This is a thought provoking, generous and reasoned work - but not an easy book to read. McGowan candidly warns, in the introduction, that scintillating statements and flowing lines are not his forte. However, the problem for all those who choose to write about the Alexander Technique (or Contructive Awareness - as McGowan prefers to call it ) is that of conveying the significance in words of something that is only fundamentally understood when experienced - through hands on work with a competent teacher.
Speaking from my own experience - the slow process of re-learning how to use my body using the fundamental principles discovered by F.M. Alexander continues to facilitate my own personal growth in the spheres of body, mind and spirit - and McGowan's book is important for anyone who is undertaking training to be a teacher purely because it addresses the technique from a wider spiritual perspective rather than from the usual "health / self improvement" angle that most secondary "introductory" texts provide.
Each chapter which touches on key Alexander Technique teachings/ discoveries - whether it be the power of habit , the crucial place that inhibition and direction play in freeing us from harmful misuse or the importance of breathing and the need for accurate sensory appreciation - is un-obtrusively underpinned by McGowan's belief in mentalism - and the final chapter and the epilogue provide further information about the philosophy and work of Paul Brunton.
The chapters about Meditation and Hatha Yoga are not criticisms - the balanced and pragmatic suggestions offered to ensure that the body is treated with respect and the plea not to relegate it to an inferior position in the search for higher states of mind and spirit have the mark of personal experience - McGowan, as an experienced teacher of Alexander Technique, is not interested in defamation of any other spiritual path. And it is only the careless reader who might think him so.
Recommended for the seeker with an open mind with the patience to return to a text that discusses difficult ideas - definitely not for inveterate "end-gainers"!
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