In 1929, a young Moshe Feldenkrais published his Hebrew translation of the book, The Practice of Autosuggestion by the Method of Émile Coué. Feldenkrais not only translated the book, but composed and added his own observations in two additional chapters, which are presented here in this monograph.
Feldenkrais noted that the work of Coué was primarily focused on resolving problems, and realized that these same ideas could be used proactively to improve one’s abilities. Feldenkrais writes, “We will explore this issue and see if we can take it a step forward. Using examples from real life, we will demonstrate that by using autosuggestion we can achieve far superior results rather than merely being in a condition no worse than someone else’s.” Feldenkrais offers numerous examples of how autosuggestion can enhance abilities and improve performance and concludes that imagination and correct thinking are more effective than willpower.
For many years, Autosuggestion was a reference point for Feldenkrais as he continued to develop his work. He mentioned Coué in various aspects of his later publications, including Body and Mature Behavior and Awareness Through Movement. Both of these books are considered milestones in the development of the Feldenkrais Method®.
What People are Saying
Thinking and Doing provides us with unique insights into how Moshe Feldenkrais viewed the importance of the unconscious and its hidden abilities to effect health, well-being and action. This small but powerful monograph contains within it the genesis of what will become the Feldenkrais Method.
Feldenkrais Trainer, Founder, Feldenkrais Access
This little gem is a must read for Feldenkrais fans, historians and anyone who wants to learn more about the roots of the Feldenkrais Method. Not only do we learn how much Coué’s ideas influenced Moshe, we get an insight into Feldenkrais’ early thinking processes. And it’s really interesting to see the debt current brain research owes to Coué’s, and later, Feldenkrais’ ideas of auto suggestion and use of imagery.
Feldenkrais Practitioner, Author of, What Are You Afraid Of? and Walking Your Talk
As addressed within Coué’s work and in Feldenkrais’ commentary, one must begin by understanding that fundamentally in matters of self-control and self-direction, imagination trumps will. By locating the self-image as a product of self-imaging, we can bypass notions of the unconscious and discern how Feldenkrais acquired one of the key pillars of his life’s work. If, as Moshe Feldenkrais held, the unconscious is not unconscious, how did he get to that position? First, using Coue’s work, he immersed himself in a practical course of study on how to use the unconscious to make one’s life better. Along the way he realized that the unconscious is not a thing but a process with constraints that are amenable to utilization. As such, what does that mean for notions of the sub-conscious, consciousness itself, and the vast, vague domain of so-called altered states of consciousness? If we view those terms as territorial maps then the maps should correspond to their respective territories. Feldenkrais realized that the terms were less than helpful ad hoc human inventions having little pragmatic value. The processes they would map, viewed from Feldenkrais’ perspective of awareness, require a radically different approach.