“At times I feel as if I am spread out over the landscape and inside things, and am myself living in every tree, in the splashing of the waves, in the clouds and in the animals that come and go,in the procession of the seasons.”(Jung, 1961, Memories Dreams Reflections)
Reflecting at his house by the lake, the psychologist C G Jung wrote about an experience of feeling of “living in modest harmony with nature” which allowed him to better see the nature of human existence. This experience informed much of his psychological research into the nature of the collective unconscious and the interconnected nature of all being.
He theorised that our psyche has a conscious part and an unconscious part. It is also personal and collective. The archetype of wholeness, which he called the Self, captures the concept of the whole psyche. The Self is often likened to a “God Image” or what some might call the Source. It is the container for the whole.
William Sutherland, the originator of the craniosacral biodynamic paradigm, lived around the same time as C G Jung and it is my belief that they were each attempting to describe similar experiences and to reach a better understanding of life. Thus, the work of each informs the other.
It has been my experience that the rich embodied practice of biodynamic craniosacral therapy is, at its core, a practice of experiencing the interconnection of life.
Sutherland uses the term Breath of Life to describe an experience of something bigger than ourselves—an intelligence that moves the subtle rhythmic tides—a god image perhaps. Possibly the Breath of Life is Jung’sSelf, being a centralising ordering principle.
It has been my experience that the rich embodied practice of biodynamic craniosacral therapy is, at its core, a practice of experiencing the interconnection of life. It is one of experiencing the rhythms of nature. It is a practice of becoming conscious of the whole. The attuning of our body rhythms to those subtle rhythms in nature is at the foundation of our healing capacity. I find Jung’s theory of archetypes useful to gain further understanding of this biodynamic experience, which, to my mind, is a conscious practice of relating to the Self.
Jung maintained that the unconscious, the unknown part of the psyche, is ordered by primordial images or patterns that he called archetypes which he considered “formative principles of instinctual power.” He argued that while an archetype as such can never be truly known, it can appear as an archetypal image, such as the archetypal mother or father. Archetypes are usually projected onto the external environment as a way to make them conscious, such as onto the actual mother or father. This projection is a way to make the unconscious archetypal content conscious, and thus a route to the Self.
For example, from a biodynamic craniosacral perspective, if we look at the imprints we have around birth and attachment, these are perhaps patterns that we project onto our mother as a means to become more conscious of the mother archetype, and ultimately become more conscious of our relationship to the Self, as wholeness. The mother archetype can also be experienced in our relationship to the Mother Earth. In my experience our relationship to the natural world can be a route to healing birth and attachment wounds.
“There is a basic primary rhythmic interchange taking place in all that is alive.”
Sutherland believed there is an intelligence, separate from our thinking minds, that drives our fluid tides or rhythms. Rollin Becker claimed, “There is a basic primary rhythmic interchange taking place in all that is alive.” In other words, there is a fluid interconnection between beings, individually and collectively. His theory was that a skilled practitioner’s presence and touch reignites the knowing intelligence and reminds clients of their intrinsic self-healing mechanism.
Can you also attune to the subtle rhythms in nature?
It is by having a conscious relationship with the Breath of Life, the Self, the God-image, wholeness, whatever we choose to name it, that we are able to heal. When we revert to having a conscious relationship with the centre, the original organising principle, then the miraculous can happen.
Many of these concepts are too big for one article and I think indeed too big to be written about. They need to be experienced. That is when we really get a sense of how life is truly interconnected. Therefore, I would like to offer a simple practice to experience the interconnection of life working with both biodynamic craniosacral skills and nature. Next time you are out in nature, take some time and tune into the subtle fluid rhythms in your body. Can you also attune to the subtle rhythms in nature? Can you tune into the deep stillness in nature and in your body? What arises? Can you feel the interconnection of life as Jung did in his lake side house, “in modest harmony with nature”?