The magic of not knowing


Words were created as part of the cognitive revolution to propagate and explain ideas, communicate what we know and how we feel…

The statement “I don’t know” may appear to set definite boundaries, but as a biodynamic craniosacral therapist, I feel it opens the mind and the body to a realm of infinite possibilities to be experienced, and witnessed.

So if you ask me ‘why?’ something happens in a treatment, I’m very likely going to reply: “I don’t know”.

Of course I can describe to you the landscapes within as I feel them, sense them and envision them.

As the five senses are intertwined a light hand touch with two ankles may also sound, look, smell and sometimes yes even taste in a unique way congruent to my hands and your feet in contact.

The plot thickens as suddenly or gradually your spine, your occiput, your diaphragm, your shoulders... may take part and some very intriguing, fascinating transformations occur.

Why? I don’t know.

Well, I can talk about primary respiration, the tides or rhythms at play in the system, the fulcrums or organising centres, the bio electric expressions and releases, the midline, the motility of organs, the role of the cerebrospinal fluid, the coalescence of potency to explain how the body protects itself, the importance of interconnections between the specific and the whole through our fascia system…

It will only partly explain some of the phenomena I’ve witnessed as a therapist. What actually happens is far more complex and rich than the scientific spiel and that is why I love it.

I know one thing for sure, the instant I entered the world of biodynamic craniosacral therapy and began to feel the Breath of Life at work had a Harry Potter quality to it.

It was like penetrating into an unknown magical realm of chain reactions, strange expressions of energy/potency and fluid dynamics I had absolutely no idea were possible. And the best thing about it is that it is not make believe, it is real.

Even now after almost four years of practice I still sit back thinking: “What on earth just happened?” “Wow, wow, wow!”

If I told you that recently I felt part of a client’s spine curve towards me, would you believe me?

I was sitting holding my client’s left shoulder and upper thigh, the Pieta hold as we call it, and I felt an energetic swell as well as could visualise some of her spine stretching towards me with a wrenching-like intensity and releasing, as if relieved, then reconnecting, re-associating with its surroundings.

Later in the session, a potency surge manifested in this client’s diaphragm: it felt like the merging of sparkles into a kind of nebulae of light accompanied by a beautiful expansion of this respiratory muscle. I both saw and felt this, as my tutor Steve Haines would entice us to say: I ‘perceived’ it. Don’t ask me ‘why?’ exactly: I do not know.

All I could venture is that potency returned into an area that was previously quite compressed thanks to the body’s natural reorientation towards health, to its re-balancing and reconnecting abilities, while I was holding the space and supporting change.

But really it was thanks to the Breath of Life, to the same force that made you, us at the very beginning of our existence.

William Garner Sutherland, the father of osteopathy in the cranial field, told his students to “Be still and know…” But I understand this knowing as a meeting beyond words with this great force of manifestation and transformation, transmutation even.

He also asked, “Is it necessary to know what makes the fluid move? Visualize a potency, an intelligent potency, that is more intelligent than your own human mentality”.

And it is precisely in this transcending of knowing that magic happens. Your body, our bodies are truly gifted magicians.

Are we, as craniosacral therapists, facilitating an increased awareness of this magical world? Maybe, hopefully.

As a biodynamic craniosacral therapist I remain intention-free, but I listen, hold and allow whatever magic to reveal itself as the body requires it there and then. I also encourage my clients to tell me what they feel.

I sometimes wish I could take pictures before and after a session. They would mainly display the outside effects it’s true but outer is more connected to inner after a treatment and there is a renewed presence, a strength and a togetherness that externally reflect some deep internal re-syncing and settling.

Having a biodynamic craniosacral foundation with which to work from is essential but the wonders that appear as we hold the field henceforth do not need to be explained in detail.

It is so much more fulfilling to be awe-struck and enchanted without knowing why, don’t you think?

The father of osteopathy, Andrew Taylor Still beautifully evokes the magic of not knowing when he says,

“To know all of a bone in its entirety would close both ends of an eternity,” Autobiography.


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