Wishing to escape vagueness regarding our role and the meaning of our lives points to a grand task; this wish must become the cornerstone of every search. Those who do not know exactly what they want, what they are seeking, and how to attain their aim can only wander in emptiness.

Lack of precision, a vague and impractical approach to work on oneself, leaves the door open to a whole world of fantasy that allows destructive imagination to penetrate our entire existence and empty it of all substance.

I must add, however, that at the other pole from this lack of precision lies another danger: that of locking oneself up in a narrow, dry rigor, equally destructive.

We must find the “right” way, the “middle way”. How to go toward experiences that are both more concrete and more alive?

Left to itself, the body has no aim other than to satisfy its elementary needs; but you have another aim, and the body must understand that; it must understand that you need it, and by responding to that need it will gain a sense of dignity it could not have found on its own. 

Once your body has grasped the reason for the exercises, it will be happy to serve them, and this joy in serving will be the key to your relation with it. The secret of every harmonious relationship resides in mutual trust and love, and all our difficulties in all cases are rooted in fear. Without realizing it, we are afraid of our body, of the incomprehensible movements and agitations that take place in it, and the body is afraid of the mysterious calls and needs alien to its nature which make themselves heard inside our being.

Your work is to learn to recognize the needs of these contradictory natures which you are made of; and, getting to know them, you will see that mutual understanding is possible. Man has the role of mediator to discover and accept. He can do nothing or repress anything, but he can “know”, and thus allow the union of opposites. This cannot be experienced in theory, it must be lived. The body is a fact, a reality; man’s deep nature is another reality, equally concrete. To work on oneself means entering into contact with these realities.

As you learn to communicate with and relate to your body, you must also learn to enter into relationship with the world of thought. During moments of silent preparation, allow the mechanical movements of your thought to appear without permitting them to irritate you. You cannot still them or expel them, but behind the associative, logical and rational modes of thought, behind or through the words, the sentences and images, you can discover an unknown form of thinking: thought without words, without images, like a clarity that knows and encompasses all of the preceding forms without losing itself in them. This pure, nonverbal thinking is vastly richer than “formatory” thinking. When it is perceived, it imparts a taste of life to silence; and when I live in this way, I know that I am questioning the world of thought. Without any explanation, I know whether my thought is in agreement or not with this work. If I fall back into new talking, it means that my thought is not yet ready, and I devote the time necessary for the separation to take place once again between these levels of thought. The understanding of my body helps me. All of this is much more important than wanting to do an exercise at all costs- an exercise that would be meaningless.

Little by little, an agreement establishes itself: the body understands, thought understands. I recognize this when a sweet and intelligent warmth arises in me, a very fine and very pure wish to work. My feeling has awakened. There has come about a provisional union of my centers.

Michel Conge