He said that "experience" exists in the past. This could be both an obvious statement, and a little perplexing, so I will try to unpack it a bit. Experience is that with which we are accustomed, like habit.
It includes our assumptions as well as the stance we hold as we remember and re-commit to the same experience over and over.
One might argue that "experience" is a good thing, but when the Alexander Technique teacher puts the gentle directed touch upon the head/neck of the student, that experience changes. It falls into the background as a more enlivened awareness of ourselves comes into the foreground. In fact, the new experience of the awareness actually changes the experience. The awareness allows it to come to the present. We experience ourselves while remembering, which changes the remembering.
The same goes for our stories. Have you ever told a story over and over again, re-triggering the feelings from the past, and bringing them to the telling? This is also an example of the "experience of experience" mentioned above, but it is layered with the many re-tellings that we have done. We are in fact in the past again by telling the story. Then when an Alexander Teacher puts hands on, and suggests that we once again come back to our awareness of ourselves, guess what. Yes, you guessed it. The story changes.
In the Alexander Technique we talk about habit and the choices we have to rid ourselves of the habit, whether physical or emotional. We bring awareness to how we are standing and being within ourselves while remembering the experience or telling the story. There is a magical element in the hands-on guidance that brings us forward into this present time, with the possibility of a new relationship to the story.
In the workshop, we each brought something to the group. Some played musical instruments, some sang, some told a story. I decided to do an improvisational dance.
The first thing Tommy asked me, was whether, after the first go-through, I had been in awareness, experience, or story. I said "all three". Then he put hands on as much as possible while I was moving, and indeed my experience was different. It was somehow more present and more authentic, and without "story". The observers also had a more present and accepting feeling of me dancing.
This exercise was a big "Aha" for me, and hopefully in the telling of my "experience" in the workshop, I can offer you something to think about. Start to notice when you are talking about an experience you have had, or telling a story you have told over and over, if you can take a moment to inhibit and direct, and see whether there is a bit of a change that comes over you. Even better, have an Alexander lesson and bring this element up with your teacher, so that you can both explore it together.
I believe that increasing awareness is the goal of the AT, and that as we gain the skill to use the principles in our daily lives, a lot of change, and relief of many long-held beliefs and attitudes can begin to fall away. People always say that the AT makes them feel lighter...some of that lightness is no doubt the baggage we learn to leave behind as we come fully into the present with fresh eyes and minds.