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The art of asking questions

We always seem to want answers. Yet we hardly ask questions. And when we do ask questions, we attempt to answer them through what we already know. We don't spend time in the silence of the question.


I teach people to move with an understanding of the body. I have moved away from the current way of teaching by telling someone how to do it. I no longer insist that I know exactly what one muscle does, or what to switch on in order to perform an activity. The reason for this is that I recognise fully that the body understands itself. It also understands how to move. All we need to decide is what we would like it to do and then give over the work of deciding how to do it to the body.


These days it seems to be all about muscles, stabilisation, alignment. Who asks the question: what would the body do in this situation? Or perhaps we could ask the question: do I actually need to stabilise in this particular activity?


We take another person's word for everything in life, or so it seems. It is not necessarily easy to find the questions. Some questions are less likely to provide an answer through the silence than others. For example, if I ask how I am to do something, I lose the point of the question. This, in and of itself, opens up rather a large can of worms. Why is the question: how do I make that movement? irrelevant. Because when I ask how I am to do something, I expect that I will know the answer. I begin to figure it out, or at least try to figure it out. The reason for this is that it is not me who is making the movement, at least not when I give it over to the body to organise for itself.


Movement has become a thought game. We separate arm from hand, neck from spine, pelvis from foot. Yet the body does not for one moment see itself as separated into different elements. We have spent years figuring out how the body moves without actually asking the body.


I read on a website about functional movement that the body has five predominant movements. These apparently are: pulling, pushing, squatting, rotation (and this was in reference to the spine) and gait (as in walking). As this has been stated as fact, an exercise modality has been built around it and is doing well, but who is questioning the truth of this. Does the body push and pull? Those descriptors were the most disturbing to me because the answer is incredibly clear. No, the body does not push or pull. It is me, my decision, that I get the body to push or pull.


We tend to use our bodies as a tool. In the same way as we might pick up a hammer and force a nail into the wall. But the body is not a tool... or perhaps, I can ask the question: is my body a tool? Find out from the body what it makes of that question.


What do you think of your body? In what way do you think about your body? How do you interact with your body? Maybe you could live in this question: What is my body to me?


And then, is it possible to step away from the side of the brain which is standing at the ready, waiting to spring up with an answer immediately. An immediate response is an old response. Is it possible to ask the question without wanting an answer? This might sound tricky, and perhaps it is. I suppose the questions you ask need to be ones you are particularly serious about.

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