It is fascinating how the body remembers what the conscious mind chases away.
This mind-body dichotomy is the root of all forms of dissociation: a disembodiment resulting from trauma, stress, and a lifestyle in semi-constant survival mode.
These deep individual disconnects have added up, rippled out and affected the bigger field generating the current chasm between human kind and planet Earth.
Restoring coherence within the whole system or reconciling body and mind to converge, is the fundamental purpose of biodynamic craniosacral therapy.
It down regulates the nervous system and facilitates the body’s intrinsic Intelligence to play its part as fluidly and effectively as possible thus allowing for resolution and deep re-integration of traumatised areas.
As you can imagine, this takes time.
Thought processes often get in the way of a treatment and it is when the thinking mind takes a back seat to become simple resourced awareness that what cranial osteopath Rollin Becker called the 'seeking' phase transits towards a settling balance -- There is something beautifully sacred and grounding about this shift.
A regular client recently came to me with an unusual activation in the stomach and the gut. She wasn’t fully aware of it at first, just complaining of stomach unease. There was ‘shock’ energy stored in the viscera which released through strong tremors and jerking, followed by a settling and a beautifully peaceful and potent coherence.
After the session as we were chatting, she remembered how a few days before she was scared by the ‘unsettling’ energy of someone she met beside her home. This person had gone shortly afterwards and her mind had brushed it away but her body stored the memory and was still in shock four days after the event.
This awareness of the connection between her activation and the recent past happened thanks to resourcing, interoception and a surrender to her body’s Intelligence.
In this case she could recall why she was shocked but very often the root cause of a trauma is swept away in the unconscious realm causing a disconnect, an unease, an insecurity which spark a dissociative state.
“The body keeps the score: If the memory of trauma is encoded in the viscera, in heartbreaking and gut-wrenching emotions, in autoimmune disorders and skeletal/muscular problems, and if mind/brain/visceral communication is the royal road to emotion regulation, this demands a radical shift in our therapeutic assumptions,” says Bessel Van Der Kolk in The Body Keeps The Score.
This is why in my opinion craniosacral biodynamics is an amazing modality for mending not only this body-mind chasm but also our relationship with other living beings and the planet itself.
Of course it is not alone in doing this work that reweaves and bridges. It is no accident that many other re-embodiment practices have emerged to respond to the unprecedented social and planetary ‘malaise’ and ‘mal être’(ill being) of the last 50 years.
I would argue that what psychoanalysts call the unconscious consists in no small part in our body memories and that one of the ways indigenous people have succeeded in maintaining a healthy and harmonious connection with their living environment and the cosmos at large is through the continuous nurturing of this body-mind salutary, fundamental balanced relationship.
In other words they have stimulated, quite naturally and through the use of rituals, the dialogue between the conscious and unconscious parts of their selves, between what Freud would call our animalistic instincts and our reasoning minds.
It is interesting how occidentals increasingly view indigenous shamanic rituals as a gateway towards resolution of deep unconscious trauma.
These shamanic practices rekindle within the self and the psyche our awareness of the spirit and imaginal worlds, allowing us to enter an unconscious realm otherwise difficult to access, through the intercession of a natural element: a plant or an animal.
In ancient times throughout the world, these practices and 'magic potions' have ensured and maintained the safe equilibrium and connection between fundamental aspects of our selves in our surrounds: the shadow and the light, the conscious and the unconscious, the spiritual and the natural world, planet Earth and the cosmos.
In fact one of these key rituals is precisely what the likes of Freud etc… explored and developed in the west in order to treat what they called neurosis: the interpretation of dreams.
The dream world is seen as the realm of the unconscious. In indigenous societies, it is how the imaginal world speaks to us. It is a spiritual language, therefore it is crucial to listen and 'know' it, and to be able to somewhat decipher it with the help of a shaman.
This is not only done through the conscious mind but also through the body, through the perception of physical and emotional sensations.
A few of my clients have had ‘day dreams’ during sessions, stories emerging from their cells that played an essential role in the treatment itself. They acted like resources reinforcing the felt sense and the awareness of their experience and bringing it all home for them.
These stories were also Intelligence at play.
A recent client told me an astounding allegory about a "malnourished very sick black dog” that she fed every day until he was able to move and follow her home and eventually could walk through the front door.
We were both speechless for what seemed like a few minutes after she said this. Breathing it in. That session was the conclusion of such a long and arduous journey home.
I am always fascinated by what emerges during each craniosacral session. I do not know how to decipher everything I perceive but I feel a little, a tiny bit more intimate each time with this systemic Intelligence and as I befriend it in my practice I also sense it more and more elsewhere in the natural world.
“Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies. Being frightened means that you live in a body that is always on guard. Angry people live in angry bodies. The bodies of child-abuse victims are tense and defensive until they find a way to relax and feel safe. In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.” (Bessel Van Der Kolk, the Body Keeps The Score, 2015)