“Posture is Hard Work” & Enter the Lizard

…But not in the way you might think.

The precariousness of bipedalism instills in us a fear of falling. Our minds are perpetually engaged in a subliminal struggle, striving to preserve the vertical condition. It is entirely marvelous that we manage this extraordinary feat; that our feet carry us about even when our concern is for other affairs. Balance precedes & underlies all other mental activities. Before Man could philosophise or do trigonometry, he could stand. Processes primeval and sub-cortical sustain us even in the absence of conscious intention. And trying harder to stay upright doesn’t gain us anything. In fact, we do it better without any meddling from our conscious mind. The minute we begin to micro-manage such affairs, we invoke unnecessary muscular contraction, expending such a degree of effort that we work against ourselves. Like the fellow miracles of breath, pulse, digestion, etc…balance is better left to our unconscious, our brainstems, the “Lizard Brain.” One’s guardian angel is a reptile.

Here is a brief exercise to acquaint us with this unconscious benefactor:

Stand up, close your eyes, and notice the mind’s activity in preserving your perpendicular alignment;
Notice it, and then give it up.
What happened? Either nothing changed or standing suddenly became easier.
Most likely you did not end up on the floor.
Why? Because you let the Lizard take over.

“Posture is hard work” not because it’s hard in itself, but because it’s so hard to keep it easy…



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