Last week I had the honor of assisting the first module of a biodynamic craniosacral training here in Colorado. I love the first module. Every time I come out of it, I have the profound conviction that what is taught and shared in just those five days is almost all that needs to be shared. As we learn to cultivate and embody the biodynamic principles, our lives and the lives of those we touch transform in ways we cannot even imagine.
One of the most important breakthroughs of the inside-out approach to healthcare has been the realization that the more we are able to “be with” our experiences in the here and now — particularly our challenges — the greater the potential for healing. I like to say it this way: Healing happens in the arms of compassionate presence. In some very real sense, building the capacity to be present is itself the healing process.
Needless to say, being fully present with overwhelming sensations, thoughts, and feelings can be extremely challenging. In fact, if we experienced trauma as a young child that was never fully integrated, likely our ingrained response to challenge will be to automatically dissociate from stressful sensations rather than be present with them. In addition, many of us were simply not taught how to cultivate presence and mindfulness. If this is the case, then how do we build our capacity to be present when experiencing extreme dis-ease, pain, or suffering?
One of the keys to cultivating the capacity to be with challenge begins with learning to orient to something else, to those aspects of us that are not in pain or distress. With extreme suffering, we can easily believe that our suffering is all there is to us. We literally identify ourselves as our suffering. But the truth is there is always more to us than our suffering… much more. Orienting to something else — often referred to as a resource — can be as simple as bringing our full awareness to a part of our body that does not hurt, or bringing to mind a person, place, or animal that brings us joy and mindfully noticing the sensations that arise in the body. As we practice being present with a resource, we can then learn to briefly bring our attention to more challenging sensations while simultaneously feeling the support of the resource. In this way, we gradually build our capacity to be present with our more challenging conditions.
Biodynamics takes this idea of working with resources one step further. The most fundamental principle in biodynamics is its orientation to the ‘Health’ that is always present. In the first module of the biodynamic craniosacral training, we learn to feel, in our bodies, the support of something greater, something whole and alive and dynamic at the core of our being. We practice simple exercises to feel into the dynamic Stillness at our core, as well as the the forces of Health and Creation that arise from that Stillness. We actually train ourselves to reliably and consistently experience, in an embodied way, various aspects of our essential nature. In my mind, this is the ultimate resource, the ultimate “something else.”
As we learn orient to this ultimate resource, we cultivate the ability to be present with even the most extreme challenges, and in so doing, create the conditions needed for truly transformational healing.