Intelligence with a Capital I: Craniosacral Biodynamics as Spiritual Practice
“Visualize a potency, an intelligent potency, that is more intelligent than your own human mentality … You will have observed its potency and also its Intelligence, spelled with a capital I. It is something you can depend upon to do the work for you. In other words, don’t try to drive the mechanism through any external force. Rely upon the Tide” – William Garner Sutherland
William Garner Sutherland, father of Cranial Osteopathy, also known as Osteopathy in the Cranial Field, referred often to the Intelligence of potency, or life energy. He called it “Intelligence with a capital I”. He recognized through increasingly subtle listening and less and less doing, that the client’s system knows what to do for healing. For the practitioner, trusting the Intelligence of the potency is a practice in letting go. As such, we might consider it a spiritual practice, a practice of surrender.
In practicing Craniosacral Biodynamics, which emerged from Sutherland’s work in the final decade of his life, I don’t do a lot. My main intention is to settle myself deeply enough that I can listen and perceive what the Intelligence may be expressing. I also want to create a context in which it can be free to express.
Potency as an embodied life force has three main functions. First, it guides our formation, the organization of our cells and tissues, from conception throughout life. When we encounter challenges, stresses, traumas or shocks, it acts to protect, usually by coalescing. This results in densification in the tissues, creating tissue patterns. When the individual perceives adequate safety within deepening stillness, potency can shift to its third function, which is healing. Conditional forces contained by the potency in protection mode can begin to be resolved. The tissues can then reorganize in relation to their original embryological intention. We return to what I call our original embryological potential, becoming more like the fluid, unformed embryo that has the potential to develop into complex human form.
As practitioner, I have an important job in establishing and maintaining a safe relational field with my client. This enables the nervous system to settle under defensive states and the potency can begin to do its healing work. Settling myself as practitioner supports this process not only because it can help the client to feel safer, but also because our fluid bodies resonate. Through resonance, the calm in my system can communicate to the client and facilitate a more restful quieting.
Resting in the Insecurity of Letting Go
This may all seem quite straightforward, but there are challenges in doing so little and perceiving so much! What happens in this process to my ego needs to be active, to fix a problem, to feel like I am accomplishing something, or like I know something, or… you can complete the sentence with your own particular style of insecurity!
Having an intention to be present, rather than actively trying to change anything, represents a major paradigm shift from how our modern Western world operates. It also resonates with many spiritual practices.
Letting go of doing, letting go of needing to know or pretending to know what needs to happen, surrendering control to an invisible force, we meet our inner shadows. The dragons emerge to spit fire at us. We are blinded by the light as the Breath of Life, a mysterious presence, comes to the foreground. Our hearts are cast open. We experience a profound sense of oneness, of awe, of being. Losing for a moment our sense of personal neediness, grasping, self-doubt, etc., we are embraced by what I can only call love. Intelligence with a capital I acts not only in the client but also in the practitioner. We are forever changed.