Reading a text without being aware of our philosophical background can lead to misunderstanding what the author is talking about. In order to explain this, and maybe get people to look at the way they think, I will give a few ideas about what might happen when we read Still with our modern mind.
Chapter 16 was about the world as an inert matter. But now, let’s add the mind.
So now, instead of inert matter, we have body and mind. First of all, the gap between myself and the world is still present. Maybe even a bit more if I go to the extent of imagining that “I” lives in my head, at the center of my brain.
That’s usually where people start to fall for more functional techniques instead of structural ones. They still want to adjust the body to improve mobility (not from abnormal to normal), but the approach gets a bit softer. When it comes to cranial osteopathy, instead of moving the bones, osteopaths start to work on the membranes and the cerebrospinal fluid.
We are now using more and more the patient and his feedback. Breathing is used to increase mobility and correct the so-called dysfunction. It’s not me working on an inert matter anymore, but it is still me, as a body-mind looking from the outside at another body-mind. Little by little, I start to let the patient do the work more and more.
I also start to do something to Still’s work: I start to believe that what he wrote is not what he wrote. I start to feel as if I need to read between the lines.
Eventually, this will go deeper. And it is quite obvious in Sutherland’s work. He started with axes of mobility, then functional work, and little by little something different started to show up. There’s an idea of depth, of fluid within the fluid. Of intelligence within the tissues. Not the man as a machine that is healthy when adjusted, but health as a birthright. And we can work with it. Some will try to mix both approaches, using a form of soft structural approach, or a very embodied energetic work. But overall, we do not apply a force: we use the potential that lies within the patient.
We let this potential direct our sessions. But we are facing a problem here. We are still outside of our environment. We don’t realise that the way we think creates that problem, and so we are now looking at ways to connect with the patient. Grounding, using a form of imagination that is disconnected from what we see, such as imagining a line that goes from our coccyx to the center of the earth.
Of course, we still don’t get the results Still had. To be honest, now we mostly talk about the model than about how useful it is. But we now have another explanation: Still had powers. Also, we pretend the way he was working is not very well known or documented. Usually at this point, we don’t read Still anyway, or only a few quotes here and there because it looks nice on our website. But not the ones that say something that goes against our practice. And when we do, the accent is placed on how it makes us feel, not on the words. On the other hand, we love to read about Becker’s work.
At this point, one might either fall into the biodynamic realm or the energetic. Often both. Often people will study shamanism, or try to work with spirits. As proof that the separation between you and the environment is more present than ever, we tend to believe that every time we feel something it is either ours or the patient’s, and we need to protect ourselves. Matter, little by little, becomes almost an insult. Matter is not reality, only the mind exists.
So we go deeper and deeper and deeper. Feeling more and more separated from the world, having to imagine some sort of connection with the patient. The only way out is in. From Stillness to Stillness, from heart to heart we say. Eventually, the mind will really win, denying that matter even exists. Be still and know, I am imagining myself as separated from the world.
My sessions last longer and longer, sometimes up to 1.5 hours or two hours.
Maybe one day I will read a story about Still. Something like that:
“After five or six years of suffering, somebody told me about Dr. Still. One day when I was feeling badly, I called on him at his residence and asked him if he could cure me. He invited me into his office, where, without further ceremony, he proceeded to give me a treatment, which lasted about one minute. He straightened the coccyx. he explained what he had done and why he did it. He said that I would be all right now. He did not suggest that I return for another treatment. I asked him what l owed him and he said one dollar and fifty cents. This I paid and walked away. As I left the house I felt just like a fellow looks as he walks away from the canvas topped table after he bets the operator five dollars he can tell which shell has the pea under It. That little episode took place forty-seven years ago, yet from that day to this I have never had a bit of trouble with hemorrhoids. And I was able to do heavy work again.”
I can’t even see this is not the same job anymore. I can’t even see the difference between craniosacral therapy and osteopathy.
Still was either a liar, or he had superpowers, that’s for sure! Unless that was a placebo effect only? I need to keep on diving deeper and deeper inside, so I will feel more connected to the outside. This time, it will work, that’s for sure. Worst case scenario, I can start using cupping therapy. It could work if I say that I apply them based on the osteopathic concept. Oh yes, this sounds nice. I should build an online training!