ARTICLES BY ETIENNE PEIRSMAN
MASTERS OF THE HEART
Craniosacral Therapy has finally grown up. We have seen different approaches come up, we have seen different schools rising and competing for an audience and that is the ‘suchness’ of ego. All these approaches have one thing in common, they all use more or less the same techniques or non- techniques, as some will claim. When you look at Sutherland’s practice you can observe that after discovering all his techniques, he started to drop all doing and became more and more silent and subtle. In other words he went from bio- mechanical to bio-dynamic and it took him 50 years to do that. It is an evolution and if you leave any of the steps out, that evolution cannot be complete. It is like a child wanting to run before it can crawl. Understanding the mechanics of the tissues and the systems will give you the confidence and intent needed for you to be able to rest in Sutherland’s adage, ‘Be Still and Know’.
As a ‘therapist’ and a teacher, I have always felt that the people who came to me were drawn by their bodies, by their Hearts, to meet me and make that deepest of connections possible, a meeting of the Hearts. The Heart is always empty and the Heart is also always full. ‘Therapy’ can be included in it, but the Heart’s role is always to transcend that which is apparent, ‘therapy’. So to go beyond it, you need to drop the word ‘therapy’, because its nature is inequality. Somebody knows and somebody doesn’t know. Someone is better who meets somebody else less better: ‘therapy’. One school is better, one school is less better. Isn’t it time to say ‘shut up and listen, listen to the Heart?’
Whenever a student is ready, whenever a lover is ready, at exactly the right moment, the Master will appear. This is what Cranio brings to us after we have done the necessary practice. A Cranio student will encounter the Master, who always resides right there in front of you, invisible because of the veil of ‘therapy’, invisible because of the veil of techniques and ego. But once the student or teacher becomes the Mid-line, the Master will reveal itself. Then, one is ready to go beyond that expression, ’Be still and know’.
The appearance of the Master is a truism in every true spiritual search. For us this Master is hidden in the Emptiness of the Mid-line, it is the ‘Light of oneself’. This has happened and will happen over and over again. It is simply called, ‘the practice of Meditation’.
￼To go beyond ‘therapy’ is to meet Cranio in its essence, the fullness and emptiness that will always be at the Heart of things. You are that Heart. Your client, your student, is that Heart. Your practice will become your practice of Meditation. So for all of you who have arrived exactly in the Mid-line, who realize that we are the center of the universe, lets explore a few words that come out of that Emptiness.
The Master I want to introduce to you today is Tilopa. He lived around 1000 years AD and just like Buddha, was born in the eastern part of India into a royal family. He is known for his six words of advice, called ‘Hitting the nail on the head’. They could come straight out of a Cranio teacher’s deepest understanding, once he/she has gone beyond ‘therapy’. So Tilopa is our first Cranio advisor. His words certainly point the way and hit the nail on the head.
Point One: Don’t recall. Let go of what has passed.
Here we come to a delicate point because the past is so deeply ingrained in our genes that we actively need to turn them back on. You simply cannot reach fullness and emptiness if some of your possibilities are blocked, from the past. This is where Cranio starts and there are also other methods used with our work: Trauma work, SER, Family Constellations and many more. To let go of what has passed, its energy has to leave the body and the mind so you can become like a child again; innocent, but this innocence is something you have gained. It is non-corruptible.
Point Two: Don’t imagine. Let go of what may come, dreams and fears.
Once you become empty of the past, there is no need anymore to imagine what may happen in the future. Only then the third point becomes available, and open and possible….
Point Three: Don’t think. Let go of what is happening now.
Luckily for us Craniosacral practitioners, we found a shortcut, a breakthrough to ‘no-mind’ because of the power of our work with the Mid-line. Once we become the Mid-line we drop the Here and Now, we don’t even have to try for it. It gives us total awareness, right Here and right Now. And with this totality it simply becomes impossible for your mind to think because it cannot be in two places at the ￼same time. If that spot is taken by awareness through the Mid-line, thinking simply can not happen.
This….a thousand times This…. can only be gained with practice, practice and more practice, because the mind is a hard customer. So, yet again, This… (the Master is laughing)
Point Four: Don’t examine. Don’t try to figure anything out.
The mind simply needs to know all that there is to know. It is just a result of the way our society and education is put together. It is the world of technique, the world of rhythms, the world of the evolution of Cranio and it is the world of mind. Mind needs to know, mind needs to figure out, until you find a method that can put mind at ease. Especially when we approach the Mid-line in our work, which occupies the mind, and becomes a witness in the here and now.
We do have a mind and the mind needs to know. So in order to drop this examining mind, one needs to know all there is to know first. This is one of the contradictions that we encounter throughout our whole life. This is how the body works. We are not born with the ability to walk or to run. Our body needs to figure out how to do that, and then once we know, we can forget and just walk or run or jump, or just sit still. The mind functions similarly when we try to figure something out, we try and try and either we figure it out and then forget about it, or we don’t figure anything out and we also forget about it, unless we are in a position that we need to drop the mind and then these worms start popping up, preventing us from being in the here and now. This is just how the mind works, no way around it, so as a Craniosacral ‘therapist’, you will be more at ease if you figure it all out. If you figured out your own past and were able to drop it, if you figured out how the body works in its totality and if you figured out how your touch influences the mechanics and systems of bodies….great. Now it can be dropped.
Every Craniosacral ‘therapist’ will need years to figure this modality out: the workings of the body in all its aspects. The physical aspects need to be understood, the mental aspects and the emotional aspects all need to be understood and integrated before they can be dropped. It is impossible to get to ‘no thinking’, no mind, if there are still things to figure out. We all know this as those sessions, those brilliant sessions, where you and your client or student were ’one’. There was no time, no mind, just an incredible harmony and lightness. Once you stop figuring out, you become part of the whole again. Then there is no client, no practitioner, no teacher, no method, just emptiness…that is full of doing, but it is not OUR doing, it is just doing, happening by itself.
Point Five: Don’t control. Don’t try to make anything happen.
Here we come to the essence of ‘ego’, that brilliant contraption of the mind that helped us survive. And there is only one method to make the mind grow up….on the one hand, we need that mind to function in the world, we need to be a Craniosacral teacher or practitioner, and on the other hand, with practice it drops, if it can. However, the ego may enjoy it too much. It verifies our feeling of self worth, acknowledges our identity, and our high self-regard, plus our self-made congratulations of being a ‘therapist’ and helping the world. These are hard to drop.
When you look at Tilopa’s six words of advice, you can see that all of them, except the last, start with ‘Don’t’, like the Ten Commandments: ‘don’t recall, don’t imagine, don’t think, don’t examine, don’t control. But then the last one, and only the last one is refreshing. It simply says, ‘Rest’. What Tilopa means is, you have to recall, examine your past before you can let go of it, before your past becomes clear and you can see lessons to be learned. And what he means about the future is, you have to go through the imagination of the future too. Let the mind exhaust itself and do what it does best, imagining stuff all for the greater good. What he means is, you have to think, right now, that’s what the mind does. What he means is, ‘you have to examine, you have to try to figure it all out, anything, everything, in order to be able to control the future, the past, and the here and now. After all this work, when the mind is satisfied and you finally realize the futility of all of it, only then, point number six becomes possible.
Point Six: Rest
Rest includes all of it, action and non-action. Rest simply means that the mind is at ease and it is resting. Everything else is choiceless. Whatever happens, you are just witnessing it all.
“Sitting silently doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself,” Basho.
The Immune System and Working with Stem Cells
The Immune System is governed by the Thymus and an array of organs, such as the Spleen, Liver and the total Lymphatic System. You will clean and revitalize these Systems and learn to work with Stem Cells. You will constantly repair and replace tissues, bringing your body to a peak of healthfulness. Then we will explore the specialized Immune system, which is responsible for maintaining the health of the Brain and Spinal Cord within the Dura Mater. In this unique milieu, we have totally different fluids and specialized Glia and Stem Cells working in the Glymphatic system that is so specialized it was only observed about a year ago.
To realize that our body is the making of one fertilized egg keeps blowing what’s left of my mind. Classic embryology will give you the right terminology of what every-body/cell involved is called but will not explain the true nature of that single cell that starts it all. It forced me to find my own explanations of what this first stem cell really is and where does it gets it’s energy to keep on doing our whole life what started just after conception, cloning itself. How does it know to change into it’s final expression, where does it need to travel to to be the happiest to fulfill it’s life’s task and who’s organizing all of this?
Unlike cell memory, which points at influences that remained in cells because they were not dealt with, stem cell memory/potential is the cornerstone of all life, of evolution itself. It encompasses all stages life went through to learn how to survive so evolution became possible and guaranteed.
The difficulty with the immune system is the challenge of it’s immense complexity. Either go into detail and lose track of the body as a whole and then you end up in classical medicine where there is a specialist for the kidneys, one for the liver and so on and on. It even becomes so complicated and specialized that they even talk about different fields and one has no clue what the other one is talking about.
I was lucky in that aspect, my entry into the field of CS came through self healing. In the middle of the ’80s I had a bad staph infection. They got into my bloodstream, of course a place they are not supposed to be. My heart's valves were eaten and my kidneys were 64% dead material on one side and 89% on the other side. This led to kidney failure and I thank the specialist and his medication for jump starting my kidneys again. After a few days it became clear to me that the amount of medicine that was needed to keep the kidney’s going was so toxic and painful that death was inevitable.
So I did what any sane person ready to die would have done, I left the hospital with a deep knowing, ‘I’ll do this on my own’. A friend drove me to the woods in Belgium, luckily it was middle of summer, where I stayed in the same spot away from civilization for almost a full week. I had no clue what to do, just followed my intuition and the first night I found a nice little space under a tree that had called me to it.
As soon as I lay down to sleep, I left the body. Hovering around it, just watching. When the sun rose, my body heated up and I had enough energy to move back into it. All very strange, but oh so natural. I remember the wild life being curious but so respectful, the transparency of the trees and the fox, a few snakes, a mother boar with her small ones came to look and they all seemed to know not to interfere. After 4 nights, my body was fully healed. All valves were working and closing again and the kidneys totally restored. Now more than 30 years later they are still as good as new.
It is obvious that my connection to the Immune system and it’s workings is a given and theory and anatomical language is just a tool to understand the body’s ways.
How did I heal myself? I didn’t … just got out of the way, pure no-mind.
How did I know how to do all this, I didn’t, in the face of death one falls back on a deep knowing and intuition much easier and besides … there’s nothing to lose any way!
Or to say it differently, in the face of death one becomes alive, all bull shit falls away and reality appears. This reality is a given, it is pure and it encompasses all and everything, it’s called no-mind.
Now about the Immune System.
Understanding the Immune system is understanding the way a city or a country functions. That old saying ‘as above, so below’ couldn’t be clearer here. You have a border, passport control, passport stamping, police stations, all kinds of patrolling individuals and teams and so on and on and on, in a country and also within the boundaries of our body. Problems will always arise as a result of failed or lack of communication or by influencing by outside parties resulting in a total lack of understanding how this body actually works and what it needs, it’s biology. We all have seen this in our clients, almost all just do not have a clue.
We all live in 2 worlds almost simultaneously, the outer and the inner world. Connecting to the inner world is a natural phenomenon that we call sleep and we spend one third of the totality of our lives in that state. We as an individual do not exist in that one third. It is a total blackout, lights out. During sleep our brain is put on pilot flame because cleaning needs to happen. Trillions of cells need to be checked and millions need to be replaced. The body goes into a total recycling mode.
As with all things in life, economics play a big role here. Because our brain uses 60 %, more or less, of the totality of our available energy just to think about life, it’s no big leap to see that thinking and cleaning house are 2 totally separate phenomena.
To put this in a biological perspective, we can either be paying attention and participating in what we call life, or be in a state of deep relaxation/sleep. For the body this means that the totality of it’s energy is either supporting an outside world oriented, sympathetic state, or an inside world oriented, para-sympathetic state. Curiously enough in that state where thinking isn’t possible, deep sleep, the body will be totally active in what I call cleaning house, for survival in the long term.
What intrigues me the most is that when the body every night goes in it’s para-sympathetic cycle, no mistakes will be made. Things might not be cleaned or replaced if we do not spend enough time in that space, but that is something we know all too well. Same with growing a body in the womb, usually no mistakes will be made. Both examples, daily life and deep sleep, and the creation of a body have one thing in common, both happen in no-mind. A baby being created simply has no mind, no ego, thinking simply isn’t possible because to think we need a fully functional brain. When we go to sleep and we are able to go into deep sleep, same deal, a total no brainer! It just tells us that no-mind is a state we all are much more familiar with than … we think!
In this class, we will go into what the body Immune System (IS) will be doing when it’s brain is on shut down. Who’s in charge, who will give the orders on what to do and where to go? The answer is very simple here, nobody!
We simply connect to a field we call knowing, not knowledge, pure wisdom.
Our CS work through touch brings first us and then our clients in that slow rhythm where time and identity just disappear and both of us, client and practitioner become one ocean of energy, not two but one.
When we let ourselves slowly sink to the bottom of that ocean, rooted in it, answers will be there, unasked but freely available.
We call this state simply no-mind and this is where we go automatically when we go into sleep or when we go into our CS no-mind space. It governs the para-sympathetic state.
Understanding the Immune System gives us the same challenges the Brain will present us with, too much detail and too many side steps that can be taken. The whole key is how to communicate with cells that are too small to see, even with thousands together we will still need a microscope to see them. I use the word ‘see’ a lot when I mean ‘feel’, this seems to be confusing but all senses, all of them are no more than specialized touch. Our eyes seeing is a biological phenomenon of a particle, a photon, touching a nerve ending and creating a chemical reaction that becomes an electrical signal that will be sent to the brain and this is so for every sense.
I feel, you feel, we all feel and here we enter in no-mind without fail, feeling and thinking just cannot be done at the same time, our body just isn’t wired that way. Remember that thinking is just a function of the brain, 90% of what happens in the body happens under our noses without us being made aware of it. Our body doesn’t make us aware of what’s happening, imagine that, we geniuses are considered to be able to handle only 10% of what happens because the body knows, if we interfere with thinking, we will go astray.
In our Cranial work, once we have enough practice, we have fine-tuned our sense of touch so much that we can ‘feel’ the immensely small but especially its immediate reaction to our presence. This reaction to our touch is so extraordinary that it falls together, without fail, brings us instantly in the moment, again in no-mind.
Here what I said before is a little clearer. One cannot be feeling the reaction and thinking about it at the same time in the same moment. This communion is so overwhelming that only witnessing is the appropriate and only possible way.
I write this article especially for all of you to give a little basic understanding of my approach to CS and to the body. In my program all of this is part of every class and will be building up more and more to no nonsense touch.
Language can be a challenge when we need to go into specifics about Immune cells and their workings, especially since most anatomy and embryology is just naming. The challenge is to use the no-mind freshness of a 5 year old’s language instead of the language of a 50 year old osteopath.
Once we go into ‘learned’ wording the clients and our minds will be waking up and then no-mind slips away.
So, what is it that we will go into?
Some new in-sights will be presented, where does the breath of life come from and where does energy, light, vibration and language fit in the world of no-mind and how to use all of this in our sessions.
What is the nature of a stem cell, what are stem cell memories and where can we find stem cells? You will be utterly surprised with the answers.
What is the Immune System and what is the Immune Response?
Which organs are involved in the Immune System, how do they work and how to optimize their function.
What is so specific about the IS of the Brain.
How to deal with brittle arteries and veins in the Brain and which cells to call to restore them or to restore Brain cells if there is damage.
Lymph and CS fluid, same job, same origin, different specifics and how to work with both.
The whole Lymphatic system explained and how to work with it.
Understanding the workings of most immune cells and how to work together with them.
Exercises like cleaning the aorta of plaque, restoring arteries or veins or other tissues will all be part of the total experience.