When a person comes to you for treatment and you are working with them to get a sense of what the cause of their symptoms is, being shortsighted, or not seeing deep enough, is a major wall in cranio sacral work and will result in mediocre, impermanent results.
Fixating on physical causes and what the right technique to use for the physical manifestation might be, often overlooks the deeper causes for symptoms. And I’m not talking about trauma or emotional issues.
No single technique is ‘the’ technique for ANYTHING. Techniques are ways we get a handle on the bigger picture. And the biggest picture is what you need to be available for.
I am putting it like that because describing it as ‘looking’ for the biggest picture is way too active, eager, inefficient and INTURSIVE. You need to ask yourself, what is really going on here? Why has this person got these particular symptoms? Why are the symptoms in this configuration? What’s the root cause of this situation?
Symptoms generally manifest physically, meaning they show up in the person’s body. These problems are characterised by very physical causes and descriptions, “The tentorium cerebelli is pulled inferiorly here, causing pressure there . . .etc.” But that doesn’t mean the CAUSE of those symptoms is exclusively physical.
Often EMOTIONAL issues will express themselves as physical symptoms. Restrictions in the emotional aspect of the person can be caused by old emotional trauma.
It doesn’t just stop there, often the root cause of what is going on has a physical component, caused by an emotional component but the root cause is not emotional it is something DEEPER.
That may sound spooky or kooky to you depending on your slant but I have seen it time and again, where the root cause was deeper than physical and emotional issues.
These relate to how the person sees themselves in their lives, their relationship with themselves, with God, with their idea of God. A feeling that they are off track.
And no, you don’t need to know what their track is. Core problems can feel like fundamental disharmonies within the person. They are the hardest to perceive because they are so deep in the person. A disharmony in a person’s core will affect them emotionally and in turn affect them physically.
For example, someone might think they are fundamentally bad. This could manifest emotionally as anxiety and paranoia, which could manifest physically as headaches and chronic fatigue. The skill comes in being able to assess where the root cause of the problem is.
Most core issues circulate the person’s core question and to explain what that is you will need to imagine you are a kid. Not just any kid but a who likes to run and jump. All day long you run and jump around in a big field at the back of your house. Running and jumping, jumping and running. Man, you just love to run and jump.
Then let’s say one evening you’re looking at the telly and you see the 400m hurdles race at the Olympics. You are mesmerised as you watch the race. This is running-and-jumping heaven.
As you look at it you hear a voice in the back of your head saying, “I wonder? I wonder if I could do that? I wonder if I could do that in the same way they’re doing it? I wonder if I could be as good as that?”
So you find your local athletics club and join it and you begin to practice. In time you become good enough to qualify for the state team and eventually you become good enough to make it to the Olympics.
Looked at from another perspective we could say that you have voluntarily taken on a series of constraints to help you answer a question about yourself. When you were running around in the field you had no constraints. In the Olympics you have many, you have to run within the lines of the track, you have to jump over hurdles of a specific height, and you can only start running when the starting gun fires. You accept all these constraints because they help you answer your burning question, “I wonder how good I could be at this?”
The voluntary adoption of constraints for the purpose of finding something out about yourself. Hold on to that idea while I ask you some personal questions. As you think of the answers, I’d like you to discount any answers that come to you that someone else told you or from anything you’ve read.
Ready? Here are the questions.
Why were you born a man or a woman?
Why were you born the race you were born?
Why were you born in the country you were born in?
Why were you born to the parents you were born to?
Remember, leave out any answers you’ve been told or read.
I think if you’re honest, you have to admit that you don’t ‘know’ the answers to these questions. The funny thing is, we all have a sense that there ARE answers to these questions and the answers are NOT random.
I discovered, through working with people with life threatening conditions, that in the same way that the kid who loved to run and jump eventually went to the Olympics to find out something about themselves, our lives are about finding something out about ourselves. What we are trying to find out is an extremely personal question for each of us.
The four constraints I asked you about in my questions, your sex, your race, your nationality and your parents are part of the constraints we voluntarily adopt to help us explore the question we have about ourselves. These four are just the tip of the iceberg of constraints we have voluntarily adopted to help us.
How often have you wondered at the apparent synchronicity of events in your life.
Why that thing happened as against the other thing happening?
Why this person and not that one?
Why was that done and not something else?
The different things that happen to us are tailor made to help us with our question.
The different constraints we adopt are individual to each of us.
All except one.
The one constraint we all share is we don’t know what it is we’re trying to find out. We don’t know what our question is.
As to why that is I can only guess that it’s similar to reason we get upset if someone tells us the end of a movie. Particularly if it’s a movie we really wanted to see. Even if they tell us that the movie has a happy ending. It still feels like it’s ruined.
Let me take a moment here to highlight that point. Even if the ending of the movie is a happy one we still feel like we’ve been gypped in some way. It sort of follows then that we are more interested in the watching of the movie than we are in the happy ending.
I’m stressing this point because it is an analogy for life. I think one of the possible reasons we don’t know what our question is is because we are more interested in the living of our life and the exploration of that question than we are in knowing what the question is.
In my experience, there is a deeper part of ourselves that does know what our question is. It has known from the beginning. It looks out into our lives with what could be described as dispassion, though I don’t think that’s what’s really going on. It has a VERY broad view of our lives. It knows that in 200 years we will be dead and no one will know us. We might be remembered as a two dimensional historic figure but no on will know us in the way we are known by the people in our lives who know and love us now.
I don’t mean to bum you out but it’s true.
We know this too of course but we often live as if we don’t. We live as if we have all the time in the world.
That deeper part of us is a bit like a compassionate Clint Eastwood. Eerily quiet. It never actually speaks directly to us yet it never lets us forget about our question. It doesn’t care about the silly sorts of things we care about, like life and death and food and security. It will break up our marriage. It will have all our money taken from us. It will make us sick if it needs to get our attention.
That’s why I say it can appear ruthless but the reality is it knows that our lives are very transitory and the whole point is to explore this question we have about ourselves. So it forces us to keep facing it, even when we don’t want to.
Whether you are working with an adult or a child makes no difference. This question is something we all work with from the beginning to the end of our lives.
In most cases you won’t have a strong sense of what the person’s question is and that’s okay. Remember this is a very private part of a person and information is given on a need-to-know basis. If you get any insights about it, it will be because you were given or allowed them by that deeper part of the person.
So you remain open to information about what the person’s question might be while being VERY humble and respectful of anything you receive about it.
Before you go charging off into the great mystery, let me add this. It can be as easy to go the other way and start looking for deep emotional and core issues as the root cause of a purely physical problem. “I just twisted my knee Mate!”
I know that contradicts everything I said previously but you should have figured out by now that cranio sacral work is full of paradox. The way to know the difference is to trust the process. Trite, I know, but also true. Some part of the person picked you out and identified you as the one who could help them. Some part of the person brought them to see you, brought them in the door. And it’s the same part that will show you what it needs help with, physical, emotional or deeper
I know. Try not to damage too much of the furniture. It will sound more helpful in a couple of minutes.