It’s not a word we come across very often. Potentialities. It comes from the Latin for ‘power’, and it means the capacity for growth or development. Put another way, it means all the wonderful things we can achieve with our life if we put our minds to it.
It’s quite an old-fashioned word. These days we’re much more likely to use “potential” instead. But why on earth would an Alexander teacher be writing about it? Because it is at the heart of the Alexander Technique, that’s why.
Take a look at the title of FM Alexander’s first book: “Man’s Supreme Inheritance”. That’s a pretty big, all-encompassing sort of title. And how exactly does Alexander define this Supreme Inheritance? “The complete control of our own potentialities”(*) There it is – that word again. Potentialities. Making the most of ourselves, in every aspect and corner of life.
When we learn the Alexander Technique, it’s easy to get caught in a maze of heads and bodies. Don’t get me wrong, the questions surrounding heads and bodies are important and necessary. But it’s not the whole of the Technique.
We can lose sight of the bigger picture, the scope of what the Technique is capable of. That scope is so enormous it surrounds us on all sides, as far as the eye can see: perhaps that’s why it can be so hard to spot, because we mistake it for scenery. But once we start exploring this ‘scenery’, we find the tools and techniques necessary to transform our lives.
A word of warning. Getting from the “heads and bodies” to the “enormous” takes work. It needs the willingness to look past the obvious, and to join the dots in how you think. It needs the courage to actually carry out these theoretical ideas. It requires a commitment to stay with the process. But I reckon something which gives us “the complete control of our own potentialities” is worth the effort.
What do you think?
(*) “Man’s Supreme Inheritance”, FM Alexander, IRDEAT edition p.17
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