When craniosacral therapists enter into a biodynamic state of awareness, we consciously participate in the deep mysteries of biological organization. We move beyond cultural conditioning and our normal sense of time to experience the primordial sea from which all organic life evolved and is maintained. In this perceptual space our humanity is humbly reduced to a common fluid denominator, yet simultaneously elevated to a place of precious uniqueness. Every moment and every impulse we experience becomes incredibly rich and important.
Many of us who spend time in this primordial field find powerful resources to strengthen our spirits and revivify our senses while deepening into the fluid unfoldment of our bodies. The spatial field of Primary Respiration is often a realm of great freedom, revealing to us new avenues for effortless movement and wholeness. As we settle into our inherent fluidity, the confines of rigid earthly embodiment fade away and buoyancy lifts the body, showing us that life can indeed be more whole, spontaneous, and free than habitual consciousness dictates. Many therapists report experiences of tremendous gratitude when the fluid body expands to states of natural fullness and equilibrium. This experience of expansive wholeness keeps many of us coming back for more. It fuels our practice and our personal lives.
But sometimes we encounter parts of ourselves, or our clients, that are suspended in unproductive stillness. We feel the awkward sensations of being stuck in spatial binding. In these moments, we might see the potential for spatial freedom, but simultaneously face something which stands in the way of its expression. In other words, when we look deeply into our own lives and the lives of clients, we come face to face with lesions.
I use the term “lesions” because of my affinity for traditional Osteopathic terminology, which formed the basis for my early education in craniosacral therapy. These phenomena might also be called “Inertial fulcrums,” or “energy cysts,” depending on your educational background. Lesions are moments from the past that are held suspended in time, moments in which the fluid body was unable to resolve the directional energies presented to it in episodes of historical importance. Lesions represent situations of overwhelm that leave a lasting imprint on the body, mind, and spirit of all of us.
One aspect of our work, as facilitators of health, is to first recognize the past events that become stuck in the fluid and blueprint fields, and then create a situation in which they can reach a resolution. I truly believe that all lesions want to resolve. It is built into their makeup. Within the tension of any lesion we encounter is an effort to reach completion, resolution, and peace. The symptomology surrounding them is, ironically, evidence of the desire of the organism and spirit to attain equilibrium.
When we meet a lesion we meet a dichotomy, a conundrum, a question with no clear answer. Lesions rather resemble the energy of a Zen Koan … a clear question with no logical answer. When we encounter lesions we are faced with the reality that we do not know the answer to a predicament that stares us in the face … a predicament that is immediately present in our bodies and senses.
In my two decades of clinical experience, I have come to understand that the most effective response to the big lesions that present themselves in the treatment room is a mental and spiritual posture of humility. In humility we are delivered from rigid states of knowing and judgment. In humility we are reduced to a simple awareness of what is. In simplicity and humility, true answers are more likely to come forth as we loosen the reins of ego and learned knowledge to experience the creativity of the moment as expressed through biological movement and shape.
We are so fortunate to work in these realms, addressing the deep health of the body. Biodynamic therapists come to see that, along with history, thoughts themselves shape the fluid body. Beliefs shape the fluid body. We see, first hand, that our thoughts determine the ability of the fluid body to move in new directions or stay locked in imprisoning elements of the past. It is a reality that we see play out time and time again when we are in the field of Primary Respiration.
My post for today aims to address the mindset we have when we encounter lesions. I would like to give some suggestions to the developing practitioner regarding attitudinal strategies for addressing deep lesions. The idea that structures of the mind influence the fluid body is nothing new. But I would like to emphasize that this understanding is not a half-baked new age conjecture. It is a real physical dynamic that occurs in the treatment room. As biodynamic therapists, we face it daily. We see the fluid body shift in response to a shift in the content or quality of our thoughts.
I would like to give you some simple strategies for dealing with stubborn lesions you encounter in your clients’ systems … or your own. These strategies are in the form of mantras. Mantras are sacred utterances, or repetitions of deep truths that can shift your perception and experience of a situation to a better alignment with physical and spiritual freedom. They could also be called internal prayers. For our purposes, these mantras/prayers/points of focus are non-verbal tools to facilitate opening and resolution of tensions held in the fluid body or etheric blueprint that form the basis for our biological shape and metabolic activity. Mantras train the mind to recognize deep health. Here are three mantras for you to consider. I strongly encourage you to discover and develop your own.
Where is the deeper health moving?
1) “Where is the deeper health moving?”
One of the qualities of lesions is stillness … an unhealthy localized stillness that blocks the free spatial expression of life. At times this stillness seems very concretized in the field of the client. But within every hardened lesion lies elements of movement. It is our job to find this hidden motion, this quiet signature of health. Even the most solidified lesions have traces of movement within them. By looking into the lesion field and repeatedly asking where the deeper health is moving we often find new possibilities for unraveling compensatory tensions. In the face of pervasive stagnation, movement is our friend. We need to align with it. By synchronizing with the movement within the lesion we act to support the emergence of space and new possibilities for shape and function.
May I in no way inhibit the expression of health in this individual.
2) “May I in no way inhibit the expression of health in this individual.”
This mantra recognizes that our presence can hold the client in compensation because of our individual biases or perceptual framework. We need to get out of the way in the therapeutic dyad. If our focus is on the patterns laid down by the lesion, we actually act to reinforce those patterns! We should recognize that we might be limiting movement in the client because of our field of focus. This mantra helps to free us from our perceptual habits by recognizing that we might be unknowingly reinforcing unhealthy stillness via our perspective. We often need to “open up” and reorient to a broader understanding while working with Primary Respiration. This mantra reminds us to drop our perceptual habits and flow with the spatial movements of health, even if they present in unfamiliar spatial or sensory realms.
What would this moment feel like if this lesion were not here?
3) “What would this moment feel like if this lesion were not here?”
Lesions grab our attention. They captivate us! But from a Buddhist perspective, they are delusions. From a Christian perspective, they are sins laid over our purity. From a scientific perspective, they are adaptive strategies in biological structure and function that divert metabolic energy from clean expression. I have found it useful to consider what my sensory experience would be like if the lesion I am facing faded away, leaving me with a clean flow of pure awareness and spacious biological function. We must hold a counterpoint to the compensation and suffering we encounter in our clients and ourselves. We must constantly explore what freedom means. This mantra aims to deny the lesion its power and keep our spirits healthy by recognizing the ongoing capacity for freedom that constitutes the basis of our being – with a focus on sensory experience.
These are just a few examples of internal explorative exercises that might open up new movement in stubborn lesions. I hope that a these mantras reveal new possibilities for healthy fluidic expression in your treatment room! For further discussion on understanding and navigating lesions, see my previous post here.
Ryan Hallford is a craniosacral therapist and educator. He offers certification programs in basic and advanced cranial work through the Craniosacral Resource Center in Southlake, TX. www.cranioschool.com