The Fourteen Methods of Synchronizing with Primary Respiration – Metaphors of Interrelatedness – Post #5
Homage to Shantideva who wrote the greatest book ever on compassion:
“As long as space remains, as long as sentient beings remain, until then, may I too remain and dispel the miseries of the world.” – Shantideva
Homage to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the King of Compassion. Please guide us in this time of need:
“May I become at all times, both now and forever: a protector for those without protection; a guide for those who have lost their way; a ship for those with oceans to cross; a bridge for those with rivers to cross; a sanctuary for those in danger; a lamp for those without light; a place of refuge for those who lack shelter; and a servant to all in need.” – Shantideva
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is a compassion-based practice.
“Compassion – our ability to feel the pain that we share with others.”
– Pema Chodron
There is no embodiment of order without dynamic stillness,
There is no movement in the universe without Primary Respiration.
7. Cycle of Attunement Part 1 – Practitioner Embodiment
- The cycle of attunement involves numerous perceptual practices. Attunement starts with the embodiment of the practitioner. It is always the first synchronization. As mentioned above, attention is deliberately and then spontaneously moved between self, nature and the client in the tempo of PR. This mimics the development of the ANS in which approach behaviors increase sympathetic tone and withdrawal behaviors increase parasympathetic tone. This rhythm needs to remain in an optimal window of tolerance and thus the need for the buffering activity of stillness and PR.
- The cycle of attunement is the basic unit of work in a biodynamic session and in life. Such work implies the need for effort at evenly suspending one’s attention throughout space while staying embodied.
- Embodiment from the attunement point of view involves interoceptive awareness. This is conscious awareness of the urges expressed by the organs of the body both individually and the organ systems of the natural world collectively. The effort requires settling and slowing. The fulcrum of attention automatically shifts between the elements of wind, earth, water, fire and space in the body of the practitioner as will now be detailed:
- Mindfulness of Posture (Earth)
- Principle: “The posture itself is enlightenment.” Zen Master Suzuki Roshi (1904-1971):
- Knees below plane of pelvis.
- Diaphragms aligned like jelly fish, open and free to automatically shift.
- Mouth slightly open to mix inner space with outer space. Breathe through the nose.
- Eyes open and periodically looking down, on the horizon or slightly above the horizon. This is the cycle of vision to see PR.
- Aware of the inside of the breath.
- Aware of the inside of the heart.
- Aware of the shape(ing) of the fluid body.
- Principle: Comfort and ease are the priority in order to avoid transmitting postural discomfort into the client. Such discomfort further interferes with an accurate perception of PR. This makes it vitally necessary to use supports and props for the arms and hands, pelvis and legs. And yes, sometimes the practitioner distorts their body for a brief moment.
- The Third Ventricle Fulcrum for Perceiving PR (Earth)
- Explore this practice when a view of nature is available. Pretty pictures of nature hanging on the office wall or house plants can be used temporarily.
- Place attention on the space between the eyes and the occiput.
- Briefly (several seconds) roll your eyes up to the middle of your forehead.
- Then with your eyes open look at the horizon and sense PR moving back and forth between the third ventricle and the horizon. It is a subtle stream.
- Periodically maintain synchronizing with the breath.
- Principle: Practice horizon therapy whenever possible if only for a breath or two. Stand at a window and let your attention go. It will come back in a minute or so.
- Four Stages of the Heart Perceiving PR (Space)
- Stage one: Sensing cardiac movement (pulsation) differentiated from the back of the heart to the front. Allow the movement gradually over time to expand to include the whole body. The dynamic stillness is unified with the perception of the movement of the heart. More on the heart below in reference to stillness and the midline.
- Stage two: Sensing the potency of the heart as the sum of all autonomic input to the heart. The heart beat is not the potency but part of the potency. It is possible to have a normal heart beat and to sense strong surging and throbbing in the heart. This is its potency that comes forward when there is a lot of ANS input to the heart such as accumulated stress.
- Stage three: Sensing PR heart to heart. PR travels in the electromagnetic field (ECM) of the heart that extends approximately 15 feet around the body. PR has a fulcrum in the heart that connects all hearts. We are constantly in an interconnected heart field.
- The ECM conducts information from heart to heart just as PR does. It is usually a communication of deep safety called coherence by some. This is the basis of empathy and compassion when feeling safe.
- Stage four: Sensing the transparency of the heart. PR moves through without stopping. This is the original function of the embryonic heart.
- Principle: Practicing these four stages develops extrasensory perception of the originality of the embryonic heart and activates the compassion reflex.
- Principle: Working heart to heart with PR is the treatment. It is enough until PR decides to shift its fulcrum described in the following sections.
- Principle: The heart is related to deep safety. Sandra Bloom names “moral safety” as synchronized with the external (social) safety of the brain (what Porges calls “neuroception”) and the internal (inner) safety of the gut discussed below.
- Three Levels of the Umbilical Fulcrum for Perceiving PR (Fire)
- The gut/belly is the location of inner safety. It is the fire element. Such safety is compromised by metabolic syndromes usually caused by eating ultra-processed food, most prescription and over the counter medications and added sugar of any kind. This safety is directly associated with states of inflammation initiated in the gut and become systemic via the endothelium of the entire cardiovascular system.
- There are three levels of umbilicus clinically:
- The first level is the prenatal biological connection to our mother. It is always there breathing with PR. The umbilical cord is always connected one way or another. Consequently, the hands and arms of the practitioner might mimic an umbilical cord, vein and artery.
- Try this: Practice belly breathing to deepen this relationship. Sense the umbilicus moving out and back with each breath.
- The second level of the umbilicus is the connection to the Great Mother of the planet earth. I recommend reading The Great Mother by Erich Neumann.
- Try this: Sit under a tree for several minutes then stand up and place your umbilicus directly against the tree to sense PR.
- Try this: Visualize an umbilical cord from the umbilicus to your favorite place in nature. Sense PR moving back and forth.
- The third level is the universal umbilicus. It is the center of the universe. All life, all creation flows through that point. Joseph Campbell called this “The World Navel.”
- Try this: Become familiar with the Taoist principles of Chi Nei Tsang (Mantak Chia’s books) or Tuina massage and the principles of Hara and Dantian from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). These ancient systems recognize the navel as the center of the universe.
- Principle: Third level umbilical practice begins with forgiving our parents and honoring our ancestors. Then reconnect to the earth as part of the earth rather than being on the earth. Finally, build your own origin story of creation, life, death and beyond. It all comes through the umbilicus.
- Principle: Your hands and arms are like an umbilical cord as mentioned. The body is the second placenta according to A.T. Still, DO.
- Principle: These are several important embryonic fulcrums that recognize PR readily. They are already presynchronized with PR.
- Principle: There are many other starting points for the perception of PR. However, the gut and consequently the umbilicus is the true metabolic center of the body.