In 2018, Jeff Haller gave a free talk online, sharing his perspective on Moshe Feldenkrais’ teaching during the last practitioner training he led in Amherst, MA, 1980-1981. In Jeff’s words:
Moshe is saying, there’s a difference between learning to care for your conditioning and learning to care for yourself. That’s a paradox, because the students in the training program have set up the note-taking process. Moshe basically says to them, “You want these notes in order so that you can have something at the end of the course by which you’ll be able to establish a sense of value for yourself.”
He’s trying to teach people how to care for themselves, and the very process of Awareness Through Movement® is built to care for yourself, rather than care for what you’ve historically done, which is to try—It’s to make these separations within yourself.
He says in one lesson on the difference between exercises and learning, “If you go through these exercises in order to gain something,” which is just like the zen in where if you think you’re meditating to gain something, it’s not meditation, “if you’re going through these processes to gain an outcome, then the outcome will be gone within five minutes after you leave the class.”
If you actually learn to be in the process, and this process is the process by which through the prefrontal cortex, you’re paying attention to discrimination of what’s taking place in the sensory motor cortex, that process then modulates to the limbic system, and it quiets the mind, and it brings you into a profoundly different way of being with yourself.
You might see a lesson as being for the hamstrings. It’s not. He’s teaching you this lesson so that you experience yourself in a way that you’ve never experienced yourself so that you can actually have a tone that’s outside of the historic way that your muscular habit has hidden your history. And he keeps doing this…