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The Renowned Prague Interview

This is a transcript of an excellent interview in Prague by Zuzana Kozáková, president of the Czech Craniosacral Organization. It was filmed in 2017 by her husband who uploaded on his Youtube channel Kameraman.CZ. The video has nearly 11,000 views. I recently edited the transcript of the interview to update the terminology, which I hope you enjoy. The transcript of this Prague Interview has been translated into Spanish, Czech, and German. Stay tuned for more languages.  Charles Ridley 

The Prague Interview

Q: Charles, you are speaking about the medical and evolutionary model of a biodynamic craniosacral practice, what is the difference between these two perspectives?

A: There are a number of differences between the medical model and the evolutionary model of touch. In the medical model of touch, there’s a set of methods that we use; the first method is efferent activity, which means we send our awareness outward from our body to objectify the touch recipient. Efference means to 'carry out' and it sets up a dualistic relationship in which we are the 'doctor' or 'practitioner' and the person laying down on the table is the 'patient' or 'client.' The practitioner continues their efferent activity by projecting their feeling awareness from their hands to the inside the client or patient to evaluate the problems in the body, looking for motions and for lesions in the nervous system. And from that evaluation, there’s a treatment plan designed to fix the problems that the therapist discovers.

So, there’s this dualistic relationship - a doctor and a patient, or a therapist and a client, and then add that the therapists touch is designed to enter the client’s subtle body to evaluate the "system" (the craniosacral system). Based on what the practitioner discovers, they will apply specific cranial techniques that fix the imbalances that were discovered. That process works, yet there is no guarantee that it works every time.

In the evolutionary model of touch, all efference is removed: there's no efferent activity and no objectification in which there’s a 'practitioner' and a 'client' who are separated. Instead, in a Stillness Touch session two people come together in mutuality - they both have the same wisdom within, which is the Breath of Life that dwells in the client's body and in the practitioner's body. Stillness Touch is offered by orienting awareness inside ourselves, which facilitates an intercommunication between the wisdom in the client's body and the wisdom in the practitioner's body.

If the practitioner remains inside themselves (non-efference) to sense their own inner body qualities, they will intuitively receive information direct from the wisdom in the client's body.

And then, if the practitioner can surrender the desire to "know" and can let that process inside themselves continue in not-knowing, they will be guided moment-by-moment in their touch. There's no knowing ahead of time. There's no treatment plan ahead of time. As a matter of fact, while touching, you don't know why you are touching where you touch. You may get to know afterwards, because the recipient reports what happened. Then you may say to yourself ‘so that’s why I touched those places.’ This is known as retrospective knowing, which arises if we are neutral and it occurs after the touch.

The final thing to understand when touching a recipient in the evolutionary model is Stillness Touch is not designed to ‘do’ anything to a recipient. Touching is not supposed to fix, change, modify, heal, or find any type of motion, including a tide! Stillness Touch is offered without an agenda. All intercommunication occurs by a resonance-to-resonance interface through touch, which creates the "conversation" that then becomes an inner guidance that moves our hands from place to place on the recipient.

Q: Can you tell us why orientation to the heart's SA node is so important in this work?

Yes, embryologically, before there were organs, even before there was a heart, the SA node cells migrated from the midline and surrounded the whole embryo around its edges, in the corona radiata. The pulsing of the SA node cells surround the embryo and emanate a field that suffuses the embryonic fluid with a potency that contains the motions to create the whole body. In other words, potency creates all the anatomy. We orient to the SA node because it is the source field of potency that makes the body, so we do not orient to the finished product, the anatomy or the nervous system, for example.

It is the heart field emanated from the SA node cells that make the body. When you get older, the heart field orchestrates, like the conductor of a symphony, all the body’s functions - the heartbeat, the blood flow, the pH, the liver, the kidneys, immune functions, hormonal balance, the nervous system, etc. In other words, every function is orchestrated by the pulse of the heart field that continuously suffuses not only our inner body space, it also surrounds us (aura).

When we become 9 or 10 years old, that same power that emanates from the heart field develops our perceptual capacity. We begin to think for ourselves, cognize, and can take a concept and hold it in our mind to develop a goal, or a plan, and then we can achieve that plan in our life. 

Beginning in our late 40's, that same potency meeting from our heart field becomes the evolutionary forces that bring us back to wholeness. Rudolf Steiner brilliantly mapped this whole motif and from Waldorf education based on the following principle.

Along our entire spectrum of life, it is the emanation of the heart's SA node that has the potency or the power that made the body. And  it maintains the body, heals the body, and evolves our consciousness. Finally when the heart's SA node emanation ceases, it is the power that facilitates death process. The SA node then, is the source point for this power, so by accessing it, you're in the seat - the fulcrum of the field that already knows what's happening. Whenever I say that in Stillness Touch we offer an evolutionary approach, I point out that it is because we access the heart field that is emanated by the  SA node.

Sutherland called this power that made the body the "unerring potency." In modern times, we have developed enough to realize that the biodynamic tides are harmonics of the field that is emanated by the heart's SA node. The SA Node is the location, the seat, or the fulcrum for the pulsing field of life in the body; it is the central fulcrum where life suffuses, or co-breathes with all the cells of the body. Also, it is crucial to understand that for thousands of years the spiritual traditions have recognized that the heart's SA node is the center of the Self, the Higher Self, or I AM. Recall that the Sutherland's wrote their final transmission of biodynamics on their headstones:

BE STILL AND KNOW I AM

Q: Are there any other basic principles to this approach that you would like to mention?

A: There are a few. One is to remember that the practitioner is not efferent and does not use objectification. We have to be careful if we're trained and practice medical model touch, for example biomechanical or functional cranial, massage, Rolfing, etc. But we have to be even more careful if we are trained in the medical model biodynamic cranial approaches. Why? Because to abide by Dr. Sutherland's non-doing principle of "Be Still" we avoid the misuse of efferent activity, we cease objectifying the recipient on the table, and most crucially we stop feeling for motions or the anatomy with our hands! 

In other words, we do not make the recipient into a separate other who lies ‘over there’ on a table that we, as practitioners, fix or heal based on a “treatment plan.” Treatments arise whenever our touch feels for what is inside the person lying on the table. Again as mentioned, that is how we enter the inner body space of the recipient to feel the processes going on in their craniosacral system. And our treatment is based on that evaluation. We don't treat in an evolutionary practice of Stillness Touch. It is important to realize that before medicine took over the modality, touch was an ancient spiritual rite. This Spiritual Touch involved 'laying on of hands' which has been with us for thousands of years. So by definition it is non-medical, which is why I emphasize that Stillness Touch is non-medical, and it is post-biodynamic.

If we are trained in the medical model biodynamics, which most practitioner's are, it's challenging to appreciate Stillness Touch.It's challenging to appreciate Stillness Touch. Why? Because to learn how to practice an evolutionary model of touch there's a lot of unlearning to do, and then some learning. My book STILLNESS characterized the entire transition process from medical to non-medical, which I wrote it in the 1990's. I needed to write an update, so my new book Stillness Touch Union of Body and Love fully articulates the entire journey to love.

We have to retrain ourselves and learn to not be efferent, which means no objectification, no creating of a treatment plan to heal the recipient that is based on what we learned in school. Rather, we let the wisdom inside the recipient determine the spiritual state of consciousness, the spatial containment, the dynamics of the touch, where to touch, and all the other practice boundaries. All we ‘do’ is orient inside ourselves while we repose in our inner-body space until we sense the qualities inside us, and then, we let those qualities within us move our hands, instinctually. This is the key that unlocks the unerring potency and allows it to be in charge.

When we repose inwardly, we don't know why we're being moved to touch certain areas, we just allow it. There's a lot of backing up inside ourselves required for that to happen.

We shift to a "not knowing" as opposed to a disposition of “I'm a practitioner and I know what to do because I have skills. I am trained, so I am going to apply techniques and the patient is going to get well.” That medical disposition is exhausting, mainly because it is not true. But we cannot realize that as a fact until we stop  efference and no longer be a know-it-all, and instead, we let that which actually knows, the potency, the power that made the body be in charge.

In an evolutionary practice of Stillness Touch, all efferent activity has to be withdrawn to a point within at the back of our heart amid the inner disposition of "I don't know."

Let’s be honest, if I don't know how one cell works, how can I possibly know how a 50 trillion-celled human being functions? I also don't know how the recipient has lived their whole life. I don't know what they need right now. I don't know the next thing that is best for them in their overall evolution. I can't possibly know any of that, that is, if I'm honest with myself and I have the courage to face the truth of the situation.

However, I can access something that was there before the recipient was born, which created that person - a power that was there during conception, and that continues throughout their life. The power that made the body - the potency - contains the template of wholeness that even now, without me touching them, possesses a sequence of functioning that is already engaged in the whole-making of the recipient.

That’s the disposition a practitioner holds so that the client’s evolutionary process is supported. By our reposing into the wisdom of the body inside us, and by touching from the disposition non-doing amid an inner repose, the recipient can relax and hopefully, by grace, become receptive, which allows the processes of the potency to bring them to wholeness. That is how to start Stillness Touch as an evolutionary session.

Q: I know that you teach those who are not trained in any osteopathic or body work, so is it possible for everybody to be taught this approach?

A: anyone can learn this approach if they are willing to do the inner practices, they're receptive to the practices, and they're disciplined in using them in a non-doing manner. Then, it's actually easier for a person who's never been trained in the medical model approaches. Why? Because they don't have anything to unlearn, first.

Treating can become a habit, and before we know it, whenever we touch the person we unconsciously project our presence inside their bodies, to analyze the recipient, and read them. We are trained in medical model biodynamics to take care of the recipient by controlling them and their process! None of that efferent activity is done by someone who's never practiced touch, so they come to this approach in pure innocence, and they immediately learn the principles of abiding inside, reposing in non-doing, not feeling with the hands, and to touch with no agenda, without any notion of what to do. Stillness Touch is offered in a not-knowing ahead of time what is going to happen. And so, in a way, non-medically trained folks can go deeper faster than an already trained medical practitioner.

Once a medical biodynamic practitioner reduces all their habits of efference, which means to cease leaving their body to project awareness into the body of the client to diagnose them - a trained practitioner will be more skilled because they already know how to touch, and how to be with a new person in the session room. A lay person won’t be as skilled in offering that hands-on contacts at first, nor as comfortable, but in terms of the depth, the lay person actually go very deep quickly. Once they acclimate to touch, it’s very satisfying to see lay people who’ve never touched in their lives offer this evolutionary approach to loved ones. The evolutionary teaching model bears fruit in a brand-new person who’s never touched before. It was astonishing to discover that, which I didn’t know that ahead of time - I observed this in every Master Class I've ever taught (My new book Stillness Touch Chapter 3 outlines all the efferent practices that hinder the potency).

Q: You are talking about gradually building ability to be present with things that are happening, so why is it so important? How does it help?

A: That’s a very refined question. What happens in this work, because it’s an evolutionary model, is the Breath of Life illuminates - shines the light of awareness on, and brings to consciousness - all the aspects of us that have blocked the pulse of the Breath of Life in the body. These blocks recoil our awareness from contact with the Breath of Life, and for the most part, the recoils operate unconsciously. We were harmed, wounded, or traumatized at a very tender age. The wisdom of the body formed recoils to protect us from future trauma, and that developed our personality, which is an ego structure with emotional complexes that have unconscious drives. The unconscious drives are habitual automatic recoils that push our awareness away from any contact with the potency of the Breath of Life. For better or worse, once we open to the power of the unerring potency, the uncomfortable aspects of ourselves that had been hidden start to come up into our awareness. These recoils are expressions of the Core Wound, which in-depth psychology is called the Core Erotic Wound because we were cut off form our Eros, which after the core wound is under control of the recoils of the ego (Chapter 6 & 7 in Stillness Touch covers this in detail)

The practice is to learn how to be with our recoils and to cease running from the feeling the painful memories of our wounds, that is, without trying to control the intensity by shutting them down - but to simply be present to them. And so, once we can face one recoil, we gain strength to be present to future recoils. It's like exercise, except here we build spiritual muscles of presence. Because our presence is stronger, by having faced our recoils, the next recoil that comes up, which is more powerful than the previous one, we can be with it. And it goes on like that until we develop "spiritual muscles of unwavering presence." We’ve developed this incredible capacity for unwavering presence that prepares for the real game, which today means to be with our present apocalyptic events that are terrifying.

If we can meet our most avoided wounded aspects with unwavering presence - these are aspects of us that we have for our lifetime blocked - and which prevents us from meeting the wisdom inside ourselves. After we’ve navigated enough of our core wounded aspects, we can then come face to face with the overwhelming power of the Pure Breath of Love that grants us with the ability to face anything in life.

Most of our lives we have suppressed that power - the Love that is Stronger then Death - we spent a lot of energy holding the Divine Feminine Presence back, holding it down, hiding it from ourselves, and especially concealing it from other people. And now, our essential power of love, the Divine Feminine starts to rise up. If we haven’t developed the strength of presence, our unwavering presence, the muscles of presence, then we won’t be able to stand this love. 

To avoid being with this love we recoil, leave our bodies, we unwind, we shut down. Whatever way we can, we try to control and suppress the Divine Feminine, just like we had done all our life by avoiding being with our emotions and traumas.

Facing yourself, includes being with all the uncomfortable aspects of your life biography. The practice of facing yourself gives you the strength of presence to be with the true power of Pure Breath of Love, which the ego falsely believes is overwhelming. What’s important about facing yourself is it ignites the illuminative quality and potency of Pure Breath of Love, and then SHE takes care of the process of whole making ... so that all our so-called 'parts' re-join the whole. My new book, Stillness Touch Union of Body and Love, chapters 6 and 7 details the Grail Journey so that we can navigate our Core Wounds, and be with all the unconscious recoils, which is crucial if we want to offer a Stillness Touch that is evolutionary, instead of a medical biodynamic approach.

Q: Is it possible to tell shortly how can this work could be of help to clients?

A: I’ve heard of many medical model biodynamic practitioners, teachers, and authors dismiss the non-doing, non-medical approach. They say “you’re doing nothing because you do not have a treatment plan. You’re not treating anything, so how can anything happen to help the patient? By hanging out in stillness you are doing noting, why can’t you help the Breath of Life out? You’re wasting your time and the patient’s money.” Those comments confess that the person has no authentic contact with the Breath of Life, which means that the Sacred Pulse of the Spanda, or Pure Breath of Love does not even exist!

In the evolutionary model, health is a side effect; to become whole we have to access the forces of health first. In other words, we can’t evolve until our body is overflowing with vitality, which means we are healthy. All the fragmented aspects of ourselves arise from our core traumas that recoil our awareness away from the Breath of Life. Our recoils play a role in why we have symptoms, get ill, and why we have “dis-eases.”

Remember, the illuminative quality of Pure Breath of Love brings up and resolves those hidden, unconscious recoils, which may be from our spiritual, emotional, and psychological core wounds that then can turn into physical symptoms. Besides that, there are metabolic issues from chemical exposure, pollution, dietary habits, and there are physical injuries. For example, we might hurt ourselves playing sports.

Amid all of that, Pure Breath of Love builds our inner-body vitality that enhances the health of the body and builds the strength of presence, so that eventually we can withstand the power when Pure Breath of Love reveals herself in her full glory.  So, a recipient comes into the office, and they may not necessarily come in for symptom relief; they may not even mention symptoms that they want relief from. But many times, symptoms that the touch recipient didn’t even consider as part of the evolutionary process, disappear. And the practitioner doesn’t know about it. So establishing health is an aspect, but not the focus of touch for the evolution consciousness. Health is inherent to evolution. You can’t evolve if you lack the life force, or Eros, needed for day to day functioning. It’s just impossible. If you are barely able to function in life, you can’t withstand being with the power of Pure Breath of Love- you simply cannot bear it - and so there’s protection already built in. Pure Breath of Love is not about breaking people’s health. It is about bringing the recipient back to a fully functioning wholeness. That’s what happens in an evolutionary Stillness Touch session. I learned that not because I knew about it ahead of time, I learned the evolutionary approach by offering it in innocence and watched people’s symptoms disappear, symptoms they never mentioned. And I would go to myself ‘wow!’

Q: Can you tell us some hints, for the daily life that can be useful?

A: Attending to daily life is big because, as practitioner, it’s one thing to do the inner practices in the session room. And then, you go home and you turn all that off and leave all that 'innerness' behind. This work is much more fruitful, meaning it’s much more successful when offering touch to a recipient - when you take the inner practices and continue them in your personal life.

You don’t stop the practices when you walk out the session room. You continue to practice orienting on the inside, and sensing to let the inner qualities that arise from your inner body space guide you even with what to eat, how much to do, whom to see, who not to see, whether to go to a party, how long to stay, how much sleep you get, how to make love, and so on.

You discover all the behaviors that shut down your contact with the qualities of wisdom that dwell in your inner body space, and you have the courage and strength to decide that you’re not going to do the things that close down your inner contact with the wisdom. Aligning your daily lifestyle such that you remain in contact with your inner wisdom requires a daily habit of meditation. Then, you do that practice as a mini-preparation right before touching someone.

If we meditate every single day, at some point we don’t think about ‘how do I take the time for myself?’ The inner-body guidance helps you, because you start to feel the fruits of meditation, and when you lose contact, you say “wait a minute, I’m not going to stop meditating because I know what will happen.” This comes from experience because you don’t know at first the importance of meditation, which places you in contact with your inner body wisdom. You go out and you drink too many Prague beers, and you wake up in the middle of the night with a headache, and then you get up and see five people with a headache, and you say “I’ll have fewer Prague beers tonight when I go out.” You begin to sense your limits relative to the caring for the body. And of course it is a life-long practice.

But if we want to keep our inner contact with this wisdom of the body alive in ourselves - in an unbroken continuity of contact - we have to adjust our lifestyles. We can’t live mindlessly. There has to be some mindfulness about how we live that is based on what brings us in a deeper connection with the inner-body wisdom, as opposed to what breaks that connection. Meditation gives us the power to choose to keep the connection as a lifestyle. It’s a personal choice everybody has to make.

Q: And is it useful to teach meditation to our clients?

A: I’m happy you brought that up. Some clients are not interested in meditation; they just want to lay on the table and get a session, and maybe they want symptoms to go away, which is fine. But some people you notice, you sense, that they want to take these principles of evolution into their personal lives. And, actually, if we’ve seen them repeatedly over enough time, almost everybody will get to that place that they want to stay in contact with what occurred during the sessions. Here's how to distinguish between recipients who want to meditate and this who do not.

The evolutionary approach is very different because we don’t ask about symptoms, for example we do not ask

What’s hurting?

Do you feel better from the last session?

How is the knee?

The status of the symptoms are not the forefront of the practice. Some recipients understand that, so we give them at-home meditation practices, and they can then work with those practices on the table and become more receptive to the powerful surges of the Breath of Life without being overwhelmed, and they learn how to be present to uncomfortable issues in themselves. So in mutuality the practice for the practitioner and the recipient are the same.

That is why there’s no need for efference, or objectivity - it is a mutual relationship. In mutuality, we are two fellow travelers who are on a journey together to connect with the mystery within.

And so, in Stillness Touch there’s no need for a practitioner to harbor an attitude of “I know more than you do.” Or tell a recipient what they experienced. It’s simply we humbly join in mutuality and both of us will evolve by grace. In a session, the practitioner receives the session as much as the person on the table. Both receive a session, even though the person ‘giving it’ gets the credit.

Q: Can you tell us your story? How did you get to this work?
A: My personal story?
Q: Yes, your personal story.
A: That could be a long one, but I'll make it short - the elevator version.

The first time I got a cranial session I didn't go in for a symptom, I went because my eye doctor friend mentioned the word cranial. I'd never heard of it, but I went crazy and I said "What is cranial!?” He gave me some books and I looked it up. Then I got one cranial session from the doctor in California in 1973.

My consciousness was expanded for 30 days!

Then I went even crazier, in a good way, that one session lit me on fire, and I said "I have to do this for the rest of my life. It is my destiny to learn this work and offer this to people for the evolution of consciousness.”

And then came the grueling materialist seven-year medical training, the thousands of hours of biomechanical and functional cranial training, and next was establishing a practice in New York, making money, paying student loans, ... all of that externalization pushed my spiritual impulse so far into the background that I forgot about it, so the evolutionary part disappeared, even though that is what ignited my love for cranial! Finally, 20 years later the impulse re-connected with me.

During that 20 years that I had lost the inner connection to the spiritual impulse that started the process, I could still vaguely feel the impulse quietly going in the background, but I always felt that something was missing. I couldn't connect with the inner impulse because I did not have the Eros, the life force because I spent all of it on outer achievements. Once I moved out of New York back to California, the impulse returned and I remember saying to myself “I completely forgot about the evolutionary aspect of cranial.”

Shortly after that "aha" moment, the importance of evolutionary touch came back to me in the form of a series of consciousness expanding encounters with the tides that spontaneously arose during my sessions. Then I remembered “This is why I started cranial!” I began to write down all my inner experiences, which became the book STILLNESS.

Q: And so what was the transition point between biodynamics as an evolutionary approach. So, it was just your idea, or what?

A: I remember the transition began in 1995. Experiences during my sessions ignited a curiosity that turned into an inner devotion to open up to Dr. Sutherland's spirit every morning in meditation. Meanwhile, the so-called 'biodynamic tides' began to spontaneously occur as the slower, bigger movements that arose out of nowhere. I could clearly navigate and precisely sense the fluid flow, the vast radiant presence, and the black infinite Stillness of I AM. This was in 1995, and nothing had been published yet about biodynamics, so I did not have anything to read about it. I remember saying to myself ‘am I crazy like when I first heard the word cranial?’ I really thought that I was crazy because these spiritual encounters were happening in the room relative to myself and the person on the table who were telling me about their encounters with these states of consciousness.

I was fortunate to have biodynamic cranial osteopath friends who were trained by James Jealous and I traded sessions with them. One session with a teacher for Jealous sealed for me the importance of writing all my encounters down from the perspective of the body-felt sense inner experience. In mid-session the biodynamic cranial osteopath blurted “Charles I’m panicking! I don’t know what’s happening.” Even though I was on the table basking in the vast radiant presence, I needed to instruct the DO to orient her awareness inwardly to sense the inner qualities while relaxing to let the process just be as it is. This was easy because that practitioner had been meditating for years the same way that I had been taught by the same spiritual teacher. Once she recovered from the panic, the session continued and I enjoyed an profound encounter with my Inner Divine Child.

I was intimate with Dr. Sutherland’s work since my cranial teacher was his student, however, it was the the DOs I traded sessions with who led me to Becker’s writings. I realized that biodynamics had been mapped, but obviously not well enough to alleviate the panic and confusion that can occur during a real encounter with the power of the Breath of Life. Despite that they were trained in Biodynamics by Dr. Jealous, and they taught classes with him, these DO’s demonstrated that they were not prepared for authentic encounters with the power of the Breath of Life. I observed in many classes I taught to biodynamic DO’s that they were blown away by their encounters with the Breath of Life, despite having seven years of biodynamic training by Jim Jealous. That was curious to say the least.

So STILLNESS is a compilation of my encounters with biodynamics that was supplemented with osteopathic biodynamic books and CDs that subsequently got published. However, these books and CD's don't reveal what Sutherland referred to as "between the lines" which are the actual sensual inner encounters that can overwhelm us. My first impulse was “I’ll write notes for students, so they don't get confused the way I did, or panic the way that the DO’s demonstrated.” I started these notes in 1995, which 11 years later became the published book STILLNESS. In my book I presented that the levels of human consciousness and the biodynamic tidal expressions correlate. Each biodynamic enfoldment is a stage of human consciousness that gradually evolves us when we touch without an agenda in non-doing. Ken Wilber exhaustively detailed the stages of human consciousness, which I noted in Chapters 5-9.

My class notes reinforce what we experience within ourselves during our meditations, during sessions and in classes. The words are sensual characterizations, so in class I discouraged people from using the biodynamic terms - fluid tide, long tide, Dynamic Stillness, Pure Breath of Love - because I knew words are not the territory, they are jargon. I asked people to speak in sensual terms, for example “I sense fluid flow or vast luminosity, my awareness is expanded to the horizon”... and on it goes, but each person's sharing is based on their direct body-felt experience, not on the use of terms such as “I feel the long tide” because the word long tide can mean anything. And the we claim is long tide may not actually be the long tide - the person just thinks they're feeling long tide, which is far too common.

A student would say in all confidence “I feel long tide” and when I asked them questions, many times it wasn't long tide, it was inner light that arises when the attention goes into the 3rd ventricle. So, in my classes I requested that students speak in sensual language. They would describe, for example, how large is the inner body space, and characterize the elemental qualities in that space, the depth of the stillness, what type of images or sounds arise, and so on. And from that sensual characterization, we could connect a words that represent the actual experience. Rather than put the words on the experience ahead of time and say “Oh, yeah, we're in long tide” which, again, that may or may not be true. It's easy to use a term and think that's IT is here. However, when we investigate the sensual inner-body reality, it turns out IT is not present, rather we are lost in a mental concept by using terms. or jargon.

Q: People who do not know anything about this work who would like to come - what changes in their life can come after sessions that merit doing more sessions?

A: That's a good question. So, an innocent person comes to receive this work, right? They have no idea what they're coming in for. They think they're coming in for craniosacral therapy, right? But I notified them ahead of time, usually in the phone conversation or an email dialogue that this is different from symptom work, right? They now know Stillness Touch is different, and they're willing to try it. Even though they  may not know what craniosacral is, right? That kind of client has potential to receive a deep emanation.

What often happens, because they don't have many expectations, is they directly contact the power of the Pure Breath of Love. They may say “This is what I was looking for and I didn't even know I was looking for it.” Some people will share after the session “I didn't tell you this, but I actually came in for my headache. Now I realize that my headache is not as important as contacting what I just experienced on the table here.” Now you know that the recipient contacted Pure Breath of Love, right?

If they come in, and after the session they say "I didn't tell you about my headache, and it didn't go away. You did nothing, nothing happened, and I'm not coming back.” Some people recoil from the evolutionary approach, and prefer the medical model, and that’s fine.

One thing to offer people who are innocent and don't know why they are coming for a session is you give them a bit of education about expectations - to drop the expectations, and you suggest that being receptive by allowing what's happening to just happen. And it doesn't hurt to teach them the inner practices - the inner orientation and the inner breathing - not complicated, simple - and ask them to sense, to let emotions come up, let thoughts be there, and allow the processes to occur - to let all the qualities be there. Most people can understand that, not everybody.

Some people, lay down and after the session they don't think anything occurred. "Was that it?” And you have to say “That was it.” That person is a mismatch for an evolutionary approach to touch; it is not for every single person out in the streets who want to come in and have a session. Stillness Touch works best for undefended people who have cultivated self-knowledge, curiosity, and a longing to grow, to improve themselves, develop, and evolve. We're on a different end of the spectrum. Forgive the word — customer — our customers are more interested in developing. They do yoga, Pilates, or they are involved in other exercise programs; they're on a spiritual path, they meditate, they eat well. They're already practicing an evolutionary lifestyle. It’s heartbreaking that this approach is not for everybody. It’s a given that medical model craniosacral therapy is not for everybody, and the evolutionary model is not even for every craniosacral therapy person. Stillness Touch isn't the heal-all for anybody who is alive. It's only going to ‘take’ by a person who has a certain level of development and is already in touch with themselves enough to bear a suffusion of the Breath Life.

Q: I have one, my personal question. If I start to do this practice, and I will work by this model, so my system, my body, and my mind will start to function in this approach. And then if I would like to work with a person, using a medical approach, how does that work.

A: I did the transition from the medical to an evolutionary approach to touch as a gradual shift. You can't just go cold turkey and cut off your medical model work because you'll starve to death, for starters. Most people offer medical model before they transition to biodynamics. We offered relief for headache, sciatica, digestion, TMJ, chronic fatigue, whatever it is, right? That's how we practiced - even our websites have those symptoms listed, so because we are oriented that way, so clients orient that way too, and that's how we've been operating. 

And now we're 180 degrees in a reverse direction, and we're offering something that has nothing to do with symptom relief, it's not the focus, right? Symptoms are probably going to go away, but we don't say that. You begin to offer people a biodynamic evolutionary model who you sense are ready. You ask them "Would you like to try 15 minutes of this new work as part of your session?" That's one approach, and another way is you ask "When you come back next time would you like to try this new way? Afterwards, you can tell me wether you want to receive another one, or if we go back to the previous approach.” That's how we can gradually shift clients from medical to evolutionary. 

But, to your question, STILLNESS is written for exactly that transition from medical model to evolutionary. I have to warn you though, if you go back to offering the medical model, after you’ve offered enough of the non-doing evolutionary approach to touch, the amount of doing required in the medical approach over time becomes increasingly more difficult to offer. And eventually, you may not be able to because it is exhausting when compared to evolutionary touch.

By then, the people that want the evolutionary model work will have filled in your session spaces. The medical model people will either stay, and continue in the medical model. New people will come in for the evolutionary approach because clients will talk to others “Wow this work, is so beneficial. It's more than for just my health. I'm really feeling my behavior patterns are changing, and I'm becoming my true self again.” People who hear that, and are ready, want to come in, so over time the practice gradually becomes more of a non-medical evolutionary approach, with less of the medical model and the treatment of symptoms. And at some point you can't go back, but that transition is gradual over time.

This applies to teaching also, I taught medical model functional cranial, and then I'd go to some other city and teach my own biodynamic approach  ... opposite approaches ... and it eventually became too painful to teach the the medical model cranial. Teaching the medical model as compared to the evolutionary approach felt like I had to put on a suit that was too tight, and it felt like over time I had to make the suit increasingly smaller to be able teach the medical model. And then I'd take off the suit and experience the freedom of teaching the non-medical, the evolutionary model. Eventually, I couldn't fit into the suit and continue to let it tighten it on myself. I had to stop, I couldn't do it any longer - teaching the medical model became too painful to offer. And it was fortunate because that transition even in the teaching was gradual enough that I had plenty of classes and private intensive work that the shift didn't adversely affect my income, and that's an important thing as a practitioner if you're making your entire living from your practice, or teaching. You don't just go chop off the medical practice and starve for 6 months, there’s no point in that, so you transition.

And the wisdom inside you navigates that process and draws the clients that are ready to come in. Eventually clients won't want the medical, they'll want to do the evolutionary biodynamics.

I'll say one more thing. What do you do now when someone calls you for symptom work? Let's say you've got your biodynamics practice off to a good start, the gradual transition is completed, and now you're mostly biodynamic, if not fully — and people call for their migraine headaches, chronic fatigue, Epstein Barr, Lime's, or TMJ. What to do? I tell them “I don't really address those symptoms directly” and you give them your description of this work. If they're not interested, I give them names of people I know who are excellent at the medical model.

You're not throwing people out. You're referring them, like you would do if you had somebody who wants to come in who is psychotic. They call and say "I'm psychotic can you fix me?” Well, you’re not going to say “Yes come on in.” if you're not a psychotherapist; you're going to send them to a psychotherapist, right? So, I have a referral list. I'll actually be quite honest, in most cases I refer to biodynamic cranial osteopaths because they are trained in the medical model and are skilled at biodynamics.

Q: Thank you.

In early spring 2017, the President of the Czech Craniosacral Association in Prague interviewed Charles Ridley about "evolutionary biodynamic craniosacral."

Here's the video link: []https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybpA3T42NUY

Jane Lewis transcribed this interview with my deep gratitude; I edited and made additions for clarity. Charles Ridley 12/21/2020

Q: Charles, you are speaking about the medical and evolutionary model of a biodynamic craniosacral practice, what is the difference between these two perspectives?

A: There are a number of differences between the medical model and the evolutionary model. In the medical model there’s a set of methods that we use; the first method is efferent activity, which means we send our awareness outward to objectify the touch recipient. Efference sets up a dual relationship in which we are the doctor, or practitioner, and the person laying down on the table is the patient, or client. The practitioner then continues their efferent activity by projecting awareness inside the client or patient to evaluate the problems.

And then there’s a treatment plan that is established to fix the problems that are discovered. And so, there’s this relationship — a doctor : patient or a therapist : client. The therapist goes into the client’s body from a point-of-view of evaluating the system, the craniosacral system. Based on what’s found, to then apply cranial techniques that fix the imbalances that were discovered. That process works, yet there is no guaranteed that it works every time.

In the evolutionary model, all that is removed: there's no efferent activity or objectification in which there’s a practitioner and a client who are separated. Instead, in a Stillness Touch session two people come together in mutuality — they have the same wisdom, which is the Breath of Life that dwells in the client's body and in the practitioner's body. Stillness Touch is offered by orienting awareness inside ourselves, which facilitates intercommunication between the wisdom in the client's body and the wisdom in the practitioner's body.

If the practitioner remains inside themselves to sense their inner body qualities, then they will intuitively receive information direct from the wisdom in the client's body.
And then, if the practitioner can surrender to that process inside themselves, they will be guided moment by moment in their touch, so there's no knowing ahead of time. There's no plan ahead of time. As a matter of fact, while touching, you don't know why you are touching. You may get to know afterwards because the touch recipient reports what happened. Then you may say to yourself ‘so that’s what happened.’ Retrospective knowing arises after the fact of the touch.

The final thing to understand when touching a recipient in the evolutionary model is Stillness Touch is not designed to ‘do’ anything. Touching is not to fix, to change, to modify, to heal, or to find a tide, … it’s a touch that is without an agenda. Intercommunication occurs by a resonance to resonance interface through touch, which creates the conversation that then becomes inner guidance that moves our hands from place to place on the recipient.

Q: Can you tell us why orientation to SA node is so important in this work?

Yes, embryologically, before there were organs, even before there was a heart, the SA node cells surrounded the whole embryo on its edges. The pulsing of the SA node cells emanates a field that suffuses the embryonic fluid with motions that create the body, the anatomy, which is why we orient to the SA node, which is the source field, so we do not orient to the finished product, the anatomy.

The heart field, which is emanated from the SA node, made the body. When you get older, the heart field orchestrates, like a conductor of a symphony, the body’s functions — the heartbeat, the blood flow, the pH, the liver, the kidneys, immune functions, hormonal balance, the nervous system — everything is orchestrated by the heart field that fills our inner body space and surrounds us.

When we are 9, 10 or so, that same power of the heart field develops our perceptual capacity — to think for ourselves, to cognize, to take something and hold it in our mind and from that to develop a goal, or a plan, and then achieve the plan in your life.

In our 40s and on, that same power becomes the evolutionary forces that bring us back to wholeness.

Along our entire spectrum of life, the same power that made the body, maintains the body, heals the body, and evolves our consciousness, and it is the power that facilitates death process. The SA node is the source point for this power, so by accessing it, you're in the seat inside the field that already knows what's happening to a touch recipient amid an evolutionary practice of Stillness Touch.

Sutherland called this power that made the body, the unerring potency of the tide. In modern times we have developed enough information to realize that the tides are harmonics of the field emanated by the SA node, which is the pulsing field of life.

Q: Are there any other basic principles to this approach that you would like to mention?

A: There are a few. One, remember there's no efference or objectification. We have to be careful if we're already trained in the medical model. Particularly in a medical model biodynamics, we must avoid the misuse of our efferent activity by objectifying the recipient on the table. We don't make the recipient into a separate other ‘over there’ that we, as practitioners, fix based on a “treatment plan.” Treatments arise due to our touch based on what we feel inside the person lying on the table. We enter their inner body space to feel the processes in their craniosacral system, and our treatment is based on that evaluation. That's something we don't do in an evolutionary biodynamic practice of Stillness Touch.

It's challenging if we're already trained in the medical model, which most of us are, to practice an evolutionary model biodynamics there's a lot of unlearning to do.

We retrain ourselves to not be efferent which means no objectification, no creating a treatment plan for the recipient out of ourselves, based on what we learned in school. Rather, we let the wisdom inside the recipient determine the space, the distance, the containment, the dynamics of the touch, where to touch, and all the other boundaries. All we are ‘doing’ is orienting inside ourselves and reposing in that space, and we let the qualities within move us, instinctually. This is the key that unlocks the potency.

When we repose inwardly, we don't know why we're being moved to touch certain areas, we just allow it. There's a lot of backing up inside ourselves for that to happen.

We shift from a disposition of “I'm a practitioner, I know what to do because I have skills. I am trained, so I am going to apply techniques and the patient is going to get well.” The medical disposition is exhausting because it is not true, but we cannot realize that until we jump off the wagon and stop being a know-it-all and let that which actually knows - the power that made the body - be in charge.

In an evolutionary practice of touch, all efferent activity has to be withdrawn to a point of "I don't know."

Let’s be honest, if I don't know how a cell works, how can I know how a 50 trillion-celled human being functions? I also don't know how the recipient has lived their whole life. I don't know what they need right now. I don't know the next thing that is best for them in their evolution — I can't possibly know any of that, that is, if I'm honest and have the courage to face the truth of the situation.

However, I can access something that was there before they were born, which created that person — a power that has been there all along since conception that continues throughout their life. The power that made the body has the template of wholeness that even now, without me touching them, possesses a sequence that is already engaged in the whole making of the recipient.

That’s disposition a practitioner holds in which the client’s evolutionary process is supported — by our repose into the wisdom of the body inside us. And by touching from the disposition of repose, the recipient can relax, become receptive, and hopefully by grace receive in a way that allows the process that brings them to wholeness. That is the start of Stillness Touch, an evolutionary session.

Q: I know that you teach those who are not trained in any osteopathic or body work, so is it possible for everybody to be taught this approach?

A: If they are willing to do the inner practices, they're receptive to the practices, and they're disciplined in using them — then it's actually easier for a person who's never been trained in the medical model approaches because they don't have anything to unlearn, first.

Treating is a habit, and before we even know it, we're touching the person, projecting inside their bodies, and analyzing. We're reading them. We're taking care of them by controlling their process. None of that is done by someone who's never practiced touch. They come in pure innocence, and they learn the principles of abiding inside, reposing in non-doing, and to touch with no agenda, or a notion of what to do. Touch is offered in not-knowing what is going to happen. And so, in a way, they can go deeper, faster than a practitioner.

Once a practitioner reduces the habit of efference, which means to cease leaving their body to project awareness into the body of the client to diagnose them — a trained practitioner will be more skilled because they already know how to touch, and how to be with a new person in the session room. A lay person won’t be as skilled in offering that hands-on contacts at first, nor as comfortable, but in terms of the depth, the lay person actually go very deep quickly. Once they acclimate to touch, it’s very satisfying to see lay people who’ve never touched in their lives offer this evolutionary approach to loved ones. The evolutionary teaching model bears fruit in a brand-new person who’s never touched before. It was astonishing to discover that, which I didn’t know that ahead of time — I observed it in the first Master Classes I taught.

Q: You are talking about gradually building ability to be present with things that are happening, so why is it so important? How does it help?

A: That’s a very refined question. What happens in this work because it’s an evolutionary model, is the Breath of Life illuminates — shines the light on, and brings to consciousness — all the aspects of us that have blocked the flow of the Breath of Life in the body. These blocks, that recoil our awareness from the Breath of Life, operate unconsciously. We were harmed, wounded, or traumatized at a very tender age, which in the form of recoils developed our personality, an ego structure with emotional complexes that have unconscious drives that are habitual automatic recoils that push our awareness away from contact with the potency of the Breath of Life. For better or worse, once we open to the power unerring potency, the uncomfortable aspects of ourselves that had been hidden start to come up. These recoils are expressions of the core wound, which in-depth psychology is called the core erotic wound because our Eros is under control of the recoils of the ego.

The practice is to learn how to be with those recoils — without running from our wounds, without trying to control them and shut them down — but just be present to them. And so, once we face one aspect of ourselves that recoils, we gain strength to be present. Now, because we’re stronger, the next aspect of recoil that comes up is more powerful than the previous one, and we have to be with that recoil. And it goes on like that, until we’ve developed this incredible capacity for presence as preparation for the real game.

We meet our wounded aspects with presence that have for our lifetime blocked the wisdom inside ourselves. After we’ve navigated enough of our wounded aspects, we can then come face to face with the overwhelming power of the Breath of Life. Most of our lives we spent suppressing that power, holding it back, holding it down, hiding it from ourselves, and especially concealing it from other people, and now our essential power starts to come up. If we haven’t developed the presence, the unwaveringness presence, the muscles of presence, we won’t be able to stand it.

We recoil, leave our bodies, or shut down, or we try to control it, suppress it, just like we had done with all of our emotions and traumas.

Facing yourself, the uncomfortable aspects of your life biography as a practice gives you the presence — the strength of presence — to be with the true power of the Breath of Life, which to the ego is overwhelming. What’s important about facing yourself is it ignites the illuminative quality of the Breath of Life, and she takes care of the process of whole making in which the parts re-join the whole. _Stillness Touch Union of Body and Love_, chapters 6 and 7 details the navigation of the core wound and the unconscious recoils, which is crucial if we want offer Stillness Touch.

Q: Is it possible to tell shortly how can this work could be of help to clients?

A: First, I need to mention the attitude of practitioners and teachers of the so-called biodynamic cranial approach that has infected the biodynamics that Dr. Sutherland developed. Over the years I’ve heard medical model biodynamic practitioners, teachers, and founders dismiss the non-doing approach to touch. They say things like “you’re doing nothing, you do not have a treatment plan, you’re not treating anything, you do not feel with your hands, or orient to anatomy or the nevus system, so how can anything happen to help the patient?" Or  "Charles hangs out in Dynamic Stillness and he is doing nothing, why can’t he help the Breath of Life out?" Another comment "You’re wasting your time and the patient’s money.”  And finally "Charles made up the terms post-biodynamic and Pure Breath of Love for political purposes." Those comments are confessions that a practitioner has no authentic living contact with the Breath of Life, and certainly no idea what Pure Breath of Love is.  My blog, The Death of Biodynamics and the companion Craniosacral Podcast detail the inherent disease in the biodynamic cranial approaches.

Now to your question, in the evolutionary model, health is a side effect! The process of evolution means we gradually become whole, so we have to access the forces of health first. In other words, we can’t evolve until our body is overflowing with vitality, which means we are healthy. Also, we need to navigate all the fragmented aspects of ourselves that arise from our core traumas that in reaction recoil our awareness from the Unerring Potency, the Breath of Life and Pure Breath of Love. It is the recoils that create symptoms, we get ill, and we have “dis-eases.”

Remember, it is the illuminative quality of Pure Breath of Love that excavates, brings up, and resolves our hidden, unconscious recoils - which may be from our spiritual, emotional, and psychological core wounds that then can turn into physical symptoms. Besides that, there are the pandemics, metabolic issues from chemical exposure, pollution, dietary habits, and there are physical injuries. For example, we might get hurt playing sports.

Amid all of that, the Potency, the Breath of Life and Pure Breath of Love team up to build our inner-body vitality, which enhances the health of the body and builds the strength of presence, so that eventually we can withstand the power when the Breath of Life reveals herself in her glory as the Pure Breath of Love. So, a client comes in, and they may not necessarily come in for symptom relief; they may not even mention symptoms that they want relief from. But many times, symptoms that the touch recipient didn’t even consider as part of the evolutionary process, disappear. And the practitioner doesn’t know about it. So establishing health is an aspect, but not the focus of touch for the evolution consciousness. Health is inherent to evolution. You can’t evolve if you lack the life force, or Eros, to function. It’s just impossible. If you’re barely able to function in life, you can’t withstand being with the power of the Pure Breath of Love, and so there’s protection already built in. Pure Breath of Love is not about breaking people’s health, she  brings the recipient back to a fully functioning wholeness. That’s what happens in an evolutionary Stillness Touch session. I learned that not because I knew about it ahead of time, I learned the evolutionary approach by offering it in innocence and I watched people’s symptoms disappear, which they never mentioned. And I would go to myself ‘wow!’

Q: Can you tell us some hints, for the daily life that can be useful?

A: Attending to daily life is big because, as practitioner, it’s one thing to do the inner practices in the session room. And then, you go home and you turn all that off and you leave all that behind. This work is much more fruitful, meaning it’s much more successful when offering touch to a recipient — when you take these inner practices into your personal life.

You don’t stop the practices when you walk out the session door. You continue to practice orienting on the inside and let the inner qualities that arise from your inner body space guide you — even with what to eat, how much to do, whom to see, who not to see, whether to go to a party, how long to stay, how much sleep you get, and so on.

You discover the things that shut down your contact with the qualities of wisdom that dwell in your inner body space, and you decide that you’re not going to do the things that close down your inner contact with the wisdom. Aligning our daily lifestyle such that we remain in contact with our inner wisdom requires a daily habit of meditation that we then do as a mini-preparation right before we touch someone.

If we meditate every single day, at some point we don’t think about ‘how do I take the time for myself?’ The inner body guidance helps because you start to feel the fruits of meditation, and when you lose contact, you say “wait a minute, I’m not going to stop meditating because I know what will happen.” This comes from experience because you don’t know at first the importance of meditation, which places you in contact with your inner body wisdom. You go out and you drink too many Prague beers, and you wake up in the middle of the night with that headache, and then you get up and see five people with a headache, and you say “I’ll have fewer beers tonight when I go out.” You begin to sense where your limits are relative to the caring for the body. And of course it’s always a practice.

But if we want to keep our inner contact with this wisdom of the body alive, in ourselves — in an unbroken continuity of contact — we have to adjust our lifestyles. We can’t live mindlessly. There has to be some mindfulness about how we live based on what brings us more connection to the inner wisdom, as opposed to what breaks that connection. Meditation gives us the power to choose to keep the connection as a lifestyle. It’s a personal choice everybody has to make.

Q: And is it useful to teach meditation to our clients?

A: I’m happy you brought that up. Some clients are not interested and just want to lay on the table and get sessions, and maybe they want symptoms to be treated, which is fine. But some people you notice, you sense, that they want to take these principles of evolution into their personal lives. And, actually, if we’ve seen them repeatedly over enough time, almost everybody will get to that place that they want to stay in contact with what they have realized during sessions.

The evolutionary approach is very different because we don’t ask about symptoms, they are not the forefront of the non-medical practice. 
- What’s hurting
- What feels better
- How is the knee

Some recipients understand non-medical, so we give them at-home meditation practices, and they can work with those practices on the table and become more receptive to the powerful surges of the Pure Breath of Love without being overwhelmed, and they learn how to be present to any uncomfortable issues that arise in themselves.

So it is in mutuality, and the practice for the practitioner and the recipient are the same, and that’s why there’s no need for efferent or objectivity — the power is in the mutual relationship. In mutuality, two fellow travelers journey together and connect with the mystery within.

And so, in Stillness Touch there’s no need for a practitioner to harbor an attitude of “I know more than you do.” Or tell a recipient what they experienced. It’s simply we humbly join in mutuality and both of us will evolve by grace. In a session, the practitioner receives the session as much as the person on the table. Both receive a session, even though the person ‘giving it’ gets the credit.

Q: Can you tell us your story? How did you get to this work?
A: My personal story?
Q: Yes, your personal story.

A: That could be a long one, but I'll make it short — the elevator version.
The first time I got a cranial session I didn't go in for a symptom, I went because an eye doctor friend of mine mentioned the word cranial. I'd never heard of it but I went crazy and I said "What is cranial!?” He gave me some books I looked it up. Then I got one cranial session from the doctor in California that he recommended in 1973.

My consciousness was expanded for 30 days.

And I went even crazier, in a good way that lit me on fire and I said "I have to do this for the rest of my life. It is my destiny to learn this work and offer this to people for the evolution of consciousness.” And then, of course came the grueling materialist seven-year medical training, and next was establishing a practice in New York, making money, paying student loans, … all of that sent my spiritual impulse into the background — the evolutionary part disappeared. But 20 years later the impulse re-connected with me.

During that 20 years when I lost the inner connection to the spiritual impulse that started the process, I could still vaguely feel the impulse quietly going in the background, but something was missing, and I couldn't connect with it because I did not have the Eros, the life force, which I spent on outer achievements. I moved out of New York back to California, and after a few years the impulse returned and I said “I forgot about the evolutionary aspect of cranial.” Shortly after that, evolutionary biodynamics came to me in the form of consciousness expanding encounters that spontaneously arose, and I remembered “This is why I started cranial.” I began to write down my experiences, which became the book _Stillness.

Q: And so what was the transition point between biodynamics as an evolutionary approach. So, it was just your idea, or what?

A: I remember being in my office when the biodynamic expressions — the slower tides and bigger movements — began to happen out of nowhere. I could sense the fluid flow, the vast radiant presence, the black infinite Stillness and since I'd never read anything about it, I remember I said to myself ‘am I crazy like when I first heard the word cranial?’ I really thought that I was crazy because these ‘impossible’ spiritual encounters were happening in the room relative to myself and to the person on the table who were also telling me about their encounters, and I didn't know what was happening.

“What is going on?" I said, yet I was fortunate to have some osteopath friends who were trained by James Jealous, and we traded sessions and talked about what happened afterwards. One session with an assistant teacher for Jealous sealed for me the importance of writing the encounters down from the perspective of the body-felt sense inner experience. In mid-session the biodynamic osteopath blurted, “Charles I’m panicking! I don’t know what’s happening.” Even though I was on the table, basking in the vast radiant presence, I instructed the DO to orient inwardly and sense while relaxing to let the process just be as it is, which was easy to do because they had been meditating for years the same way that I had. Once the session continued, I enjoyed an encounter with my Inner Divine Child.

I was familiar with Sutherland’s work because my cranial teacher was his student, but it was the three DOs I traded sessions with who led me to Becker’s writings, and to Jim Jealous' work. I realized that biodynamics had been mapped, but obviously not well enough to alleviate the panic and confusion amid a real encounter with the power of the Breath of Life. Despite being trained by Dr. Jealous, and teaching classes with him, these DO’s demonstrated that they were not prepared for authentic encounters with the power of the Breath of Life. I also observed this in the many classes I taught to biodynamic DO’s: they were blown away by their encounters with the Breath of Life despite having seven years of biodynamic training by Jim Jealous.

The osteopathic biodynamic books and CDs don't reveal what's between the lines, which are our actual sensual inner encounters that can overwhelm us. My impulse was “I’ll write notes for students, so they don't get confused the way I did, or panic the way that the DO’s demonstrated.” I started the notes in 1997, which 9 years later became the published book _Stillness_. I presented that the levels of human consciousness and biodynamic tidal expressions correlate. Each biodynamic enfoldment is a stage of human consciousness that gradually evolves us when touch is offered without an agenda in non-doing. Ken Wilber exhaustively detailed the stages of human consciousness, which I noted in _Stillness_ Chapters 5-9.

The class notes reinforce what we experience within ourselves during sessions and in the classes. The words are sensual characterizations, so I discouraged people from using the biodynamic terms — fluid tide, long tide, dynamic stillness, Pure Breath of Love — because I knew words are not the territory, they are jargon. I asked people to speak in sensual terms “I sense fluid flow or vast luminosity, my awareness is expanded to the horizon”… and on it goes, but the sharing is based on a direct body-felt experience, not on the use of terms such as “I feel the long tide” because the word long tide can mean anything. It may not actually be the long tide, the person just thinks they're feeling long tide, which is far too common.

A student would say in all confidence “I feel long tide” and when I asked them questions many times it wasn't long tide, it was inner light that arises when the attention goes into the 3rd ventricle. So, in classes I request that students speak in sensual language, and describe, for example, how large is the inner body space, and describe the elemental qualities in that space, the depth of the stillness, what type of images or sounds arise, and so on. And from that sensual characterization we could connect a word that represents the actual experience. Rather than put the words on the experience ahead of time and say “Oh, yeah, we're in long tide” which, again, that may or may not be true, and I discovered that in the classroom. It's easy to use a term and think that's IT is here. When we investigate, it turns out IT is not present, rather it is a mental concept.

Q: People who do not know anything about this work who would like to come — what changes in their life can come after sessions that merit doing more sessions?

A: That's a good question. So, an innocent person comes to receive this work, right? They have no idea what they're coming in for. They think they're coming in for craniosacral therapy, right? That's what they think. But I notified them ahead of time, usually in the phone conversation or an email dialogue that this is different from symptom work, right? They know it's different, and they're willing to try it. Even though they don't may not know what craniosacral is, right? That kind of client has potential to receive the transmission.

What often happens because they don't have many expectations, they directly contact the power of the Breath of Life. They may say “This is what I was looking for and I didn't even know I was looking for it.” Some people will share after the session “I didn't tell you this, but I actually came in for my headache. Now I realize that my headache is not as important as contacting what I experienced on the table here.” Now you know that they contacted the biodynamic field.

If they come in, and after the session they say "I didn't tell you about my headache, and it didn't go away. You did nothing, nothing happened, and I'm not coming back.” Some people recoil from the evolutionary approach, and prefer the medical model, and that’s fine.

One thing to offer people who are innocent and don't know why they are coming for a session is you give them a bit of education about expectations — to drop the expectations, and you suggest that being receptive by allowing what's happening to just happen. And it doesn't hurt to teach them the inner practices — the inner orientation and the inner breathing — not complicated, simple — and ask them to sense, to let emotions come up, let thoughts be there, and allow the processes to occur — to let all the qualities be there. Most people can understand that, not everybody.

Some people, lay down and after the session they don't think anything occurred. "Was that it?” And you have to say “That was it.” That person is a mismatch for an evolutionary approach to touch; it is not for every single person out in the streets who want to come in and have a session. Stillness Touch works best for undefended people who have cultivated self-knowledge, curiosity, and a longing to grow, to improve themselves, develop, and evolve. We're on a different end of the spectrum. Forgive the word — customer — our customers are more interested in developing. They do yoga, Pilates, or they are involved in other exercise programs; they're on a spiritual path, they meditate, they eat well. They're already practicing an evolutionary lifestyle. It’s heartbreaking that this approach is not for everybody. It’s a given that medical model craniosacral therapy is not for everybody, and the evolutionary model is not even for every craniosacral therapy person. Stillness Touch isn't the heal-all for anybody who is alive. It's only going to ‘take’ by a person who has a certain level of development and is already in touch with themselves enough to bear a suffusion of the Breath Life.

Q: I have one, my personal question. If I start to do this practice, and I will work by this model, so my system, my body, and my mind will start to function in this approach. And then if I would like to work with a person, using a medical approach, how does that work.

A: I did the transition from a medical to an evolutionary approach as a gradual shift. You can't just go cold turkey and cut off your medical model work because you'll starve to death, for starters. Most people offer medical model before transitioning to biodynamics. We offered relief for headache, sciatica, digestion, TMJ, chronic fatigue, whatever it is, right? That's how we practiced — even our websites have those symptoms listed, so because we are oriented that way, so clients orient that way too, and that's how we've been operating.

And now we're 180 degrees in a reverse direction, and we're offering something that has nothing to do with symptom relief, it's not the focus, right? Symptoms are probably going to go away, but we don't say that. You begin to offer people a biodynamic evolutionary model who you sense are ready. You ask them "Would you like to try 15 minutes of this new work as part of your session?" That's one approach, and another way is you ask "When you come back next time would you like to try this new way? Afterwards, you can tell me wether you want to receive another one, or if we go back to the previous approach.” That's how we can gradually shift clients from medical to evolutionary.

But, to your question, I have to warn you, if you go back to offering the medical model, after you’ve offered enough of the non-doing evolutionary approach to touch, the amount of doing required in the medical approach over time becomes gradually and increasingly more difficult to offer. And eventually, you may not be able to because it is exhausting when compared to evolutionary touch.

By then, the people that want the evolutionary model work will have filled in the session spaces. The medical model people will either stay, and continue in the medical model. New people will come in for the evolutionary approach because clients will talk “Wow this work, is so beneficial. It's more than for just my health. I'm really feeling my behavior patterns are changing, and I'm becoming my true self again.” People who hear that, and are ready, want to come in, so over time the practice gradually becomes more of a non-medical evolutionary approach, with less of the medical model and the treatment of symptoms. And at some point you can't go back, but that transition is gradual over time.

This applies to teaching also: I taught medical model functional cranial, and then I'd teach biodynamics ... these are opposite approaches … and it eventually became too painful to teach the medical model. Teaching the medical model as compared to the evolutionary approach was like I had to put on a suit that was too tight, which over time the suit felt increasingly smaller every time I'd  teach the medical model. When I took off the suit and experienced the freedom of teaching the non-medical, the evolutionary model it eventually became unbearable. I couldn't fit into the medical suit and as unable to continue and let it tighten it on my spirit. I had to stop, I literally could not do it any longer — the medical model became too painful to offer. And I was fortunate, because that entire transition was gradual enough that I had plenty of sessions, classes, and private intensive work so that the shift to non-medical didn't adversely affect my income. And that's an important thing to consider as a practitioner: if you're making your entire living from your practice, or teaching, you don't suddenly stop your medical practice and starve for 6 months; there’s no point in that, so your transition is gradual.

And remember, the wisdom inside you is navigating the transition process, draws the clients that are ready to come in. Eventually most of your clients will no longer want the medical, they'll want to do the evolutionary touch.

I'll say one more thing. What do you do when someone calls you for symptom work? You've got your non-medical Stillness Touch practice off to a good start, the gradual transition is complete, and now you're mostly non-medical, if not fully — and someone calls for relief of their migraine headaches, chronic fatigue, Epstein Barr, Lime's, or TMJ. What to do? I tell them “I don't really address those symptoms directly they are out of my scope of practice" which is a fact, and then I give them my description of non-medical Stillness Touch. If they're not interested in Stillness Touch, I give them names of people I know who are excellent medical model practitioners. It's not that anything is wrong with medical model touch, but if I have chosen to offer non-medical touch that is akin to the ancient practice of laying on of hands then I need a referral team, right? 

You're not throwing people out. You're referring them to competent practitioners who are licensed to treat diseases, like you would do if come in who is psychotic. They call and say "I'm psychotic can you fix me?” Well, hopefully you’re not going to say “Yes come on in.” if you're not a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, right? You send them to a licensed professional, right? So, I have a referral list. I'll actually be quite honest, in most cases I refer to biodynamic cranial osteopaths because they are trained in the medical model biodynamics, and most offer nutritional supper and other vitality building modalities.

Q: Thank you.

 

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