OBSERVE THE FEET MOSTLY, THE FACE A LITTLE
I will now emphasize two implications of what I described in the preceding sections:
1. It is always useful to observe what is going on at the level of the feet, at the level of the anchor points of a posture.48 In the last analysis, this information is often more useful than that furnished by the face and hands. The brain has the tendency to direct the conscious attention to the upper part of the body because that is where the explicit actions of the fine motor functions originate (speech, professional gestures, emotional expressions, etc.). However, the mechanics of a global body movement tend to be constructed from feet to head. A person who wants to kill you can very well approach you with a smile, but the important thing is that he is close enough to you to be able to strike you with his knife, and he must do it from a position of the feet that allows his arm to have the force to accomplish the deed.
2. Spontaneous postural dynamics are only partially organized. It takes years of regular training to be able to move in a coherent manner. The Far East teaches us that the body has its logic, but that it can only partially establish itself in a lifetime. The utilization of the potential of the mechanisms of the organism is something that develops over time. Everybody can sing, but to sing well requires much assiduous work. It is the same for dance and fighting, for love and cooking. Even the behaviors the most closely associated to the instincts are given to us as raw material that needs to be shaped by cultural know-how. In terms of adaptation and survival, this basic incompletion is essential for a species that proliferates in extremely different natural milieus (from the desert to the North Pole), and which, to do that, has developed cultures just as varied. This makes it possible for an individual to calibrate how his organism adapts to the demands of the milieu that surrounds him and to at least partially modify his adaptive procedures when he changes environment. The temptation to believe that a healthy individual moves spontaneously in a harmonious way is a temptation that exists in the mind-body professions, but it does not correspond to reality. The methods from the Far East show us that the citizen never moves harmoniously, and he is not ill for all of that. The one who undertakes a discipline such as tai chi chuan or yoga develops a potential that ordinary life does not promote. Such a project is marvelous, but it is not the project of a psychotherapy.