The Body of the Long Tide: Primary Respiration By Michael J. Shea PhD.
Some of the world’s great religions postulate that there is more than one body or state of consciousness that we inhabit or share when conceived and born human. To contemplate the subtlety of the Long Tide and its effect in the soma, Primary Respiration, one must consider that it is a separate but interrelated body with a different set of operating principles governing it. It is a large body that breathes rhythmically back and forth from the horizon in a very slow tempo much like an ocean. Thus, one metaphor for this body is the Long Tide; another metaphor is the tidal body (the terms Long Tide, Primary Respiration and tidal body are used interchangeably throughout this document). Its tempo is the experience and perception of wholeness. It supports and organizes the creation of the soma. It synchronizes and coordinates its function with 1) its source of stillness, 2) the body of the Mid Tide and the soma (the term fluid body and Mid Tide are used interchangeably throughout this document). All four states: stillness, tidal body, fluid body and soma function as reciprocal and complementary entities. One of the foundation principles in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is that the clinical treatment either begins and ends with Primary Respiration or with the stillness or both. This is a sensory- perceptual experience and not an “idle dream” as Dr. Sutherland said.
Perception: 50-second phases of inhalation and exhalation (100-second cycles, 6
cycles per 10 minutes). The body of the Long Tide or tidal body is the symbol for this state of consciousness. The Long Tide as a perceptual experience comes from the stillness beyond the horizon. Both the Long Tide and Primary Respiration are 100-second cycles. The Breath of Life in this image is the intermediary between the stillness and the Long Tide.
Sensing: Hands are transparent. Primary Respiration passes through the hands and
body of the practitioner “undiminished”. The practitioner evenly suspends her attention and maintains a wide perceptual field from her midline to the horizon and back. As much as possible, the practitioner attends to the entire three-dimensional surface of her skin and inside of her spine. At first the practitioner’s attention is two-dimensional, usually from the eyes to the horizon. Gradually the practitioner develops the three-dimensional ability to sense a 360 degree radius as though sitting at the bottom of the ocean, slowly breathing from her midline, the total surface of her skin out to the horizon with Primary Respiration and back in 100-second cycles.
Mind: The practitioner’s mind deepens and slows. It breathes with the tempo of
Primary Respiration within a wide perceptual field of the “sea around us”. There is an experience of a witness, which is the voice of stillness either in the mind, heart or belly or all three. The mind is light, clear, sharp and not easily distracted or is non-attached to such distractions when they arise.
Affect: Expansive feelings and qualities predominate, such as generosity, patience,
connectedness, equanimity and humility. The practitioner brings her mind down into her heart. Heart energy is then readily accessed by contemplating the suffering of the client and
Phenomenology: Primary Respiration may be perceived on a horizontal plane from
the notochordal midline of the soma out to the horizon or on the long axis of the notochordal midline up and down the spine as rhythmic breathing. Gradually the practitioner develops three-dimensional awareness. The whole is sensed to be breathing without conscious control of the practitioner. Gradually, the practitioner may experience numerous other dimensions or vectors of Primary Respiration related to the different metabolic fields of embryonic development, such as when the heart develops, the life force moving through the umbilicus, embryonic flexion-extension, etc. 100-second cycles (50 seconds of primary inhalation and 50 seconds of primary exhalation) represent the superficial layer of the tidal body. The Long Tide at the surface is also a 100 second cycle coming from the horizon as the carrier of form, function and interrelationship with all of life. When the Long Tide encounters biological systems such as people and plants, it converts to Primary Respiration. In other words, Primary Respiration transmits the blueprint of Homo sapiens coming from the Breath of Life into a form. This form gradually condenses into shape through the various stages of embryonic development.
Deeper Layers: The different phases within the process of conception ignition may
be directly perceived non-linearly. One phase is a perception of augmentation at the end of Primary exhalation as a natural amplification and building of potency. A “spark” may be perceived at the beginning of Primary inhalation. An expansion, opening and coordinating phase may be perceived from the beginning of inhalation to the end of inhalation. This expansion phase coordinates all biological systems in the human body and maintains homeostasis. Clinical sessions begin with slowing and relating to stillness as the source or origin, and Primary Respiration as the intelligence organizing and “on-site” direction for the therapeutic process.
Organization Perceived: Order may be sensed as a stable tempo oriented to a
midline, typically the notochordal midline and the other metabolic fields of the embryo. This critical relationship to the midline was perceived by Dr. Sutherland as a shaft of light along which the “spark” of conception ignition occurs. The “spark” within the third ventricle moves or jumps at quantum speeds down the midline and ignites the body of the Mid Tide or fluid body with reciprocal tension potency and the longitudinal fluctuation which comes up from the pelvis. These are the two fundamental movements of creation. One is from above and one is from below. Thus, the conception ignition of Primary Respiration and the permeation of potency of the fluid body may be perceived together with the midline as a unique state of consciousness such as imagery from a creation myth. This state is more spacious rather than cognitive.
Inertial Perception: Inertia is not perceived via inertial fulcrums or inertial motion
patterns. Inertia may be perceived as a metabolic gradient in the Mid Tide when the practitioner is simultaneously oriented to Primary Respiration. Perception flickers back and forth between the Long Tide and Mid Tide at the speed of light via the electromagnetic field (EMF), which may seem like Primary Respiration is holding inertia, however, it is not.
Densities and distortions may be sensed within the fluid fields or the practitioner may be unable to sustain attention on Primary Respiration. Some practitioners describe a field that surrounds Primary Respiration as a shadow because the EMF can hold inertia. Others sense Primary Respiration is unable to expand, open and coordinate the organism during Primary Inhalation. Thus, the original “spark” of the groundswell of the Breath of Life in the third ventricle may seem muted, withdrawn or not clear due to conception shock or other prenatal and/or perinatal imprinting, which is held as inertia in the Mid Tide and thus blocks accurate perception of the tidal body.
Conception Ignition: When a practitioner is able to sustain her attention for
prolonged periods on Primary Respiration, then the layer of experience called “ignition” within the state of Primary Respiration begins to manifest to her. Conception ignition is the process of creation-from-above and the simultaneous movement of creation-from-below as mentioned. The movement from above represents spirit (heaven) and the movement from below represents matter (earth). These are the two movements of creation and conception, for creation and conception are the intersection of spirit and matter. The body of the Long Tide is a movement coming from the outside-in. The body of the Mid Tide emerges from below at the coccyx, inside the soma either as a longitudinal fluctuation up and to the brain where it cascades outside of the body re-coalescing at the coccyx or as a type of potency, proceeding up and down the midline, or moving out away from the midline and then back towards the midline as a reciprocal tension potency.
Accordingly, in the conception process, the Breath of Life generates a coherent field via the action of Primary Respiration. A fulcrum appears within the fertilized ova termed the original fulcrum in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. It is an automatically shifting fulcrum ranging from the third ventricle to the heart and to the belly in the adult.
A midline is then projected by the Breath of Life to the original fulcrum from space or perhaps a place beyond time in the Stillness. It is called the ‘quantum midline’ in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. This is similar to Jacob’s ladder in the Bible. Its expression is a reciprocal spiraling force arising and descending on the midline or from posterior to anterior and back in the third ventricle, heart or belly. Its action reflects the nature of the centrifugal and centripetal forces generated by Primary Respiration. This describes the process of incarnation after conception. Incarnation is a life long endeavor that is designed to be led by the heart, the very middle of embryonic and adult existence.
As this process unfolds, an EMF is also generated. The EMF is a layer of experience within the Mid Tide. The EMF is oriented to the notochordal midline. It maintains cohesion within the anatomical structure and physiological function of the body down to and through the cellular level. It responds directly to environmental conditions. It can hold inertia just as any layer of the fluid body (Mid Tide) can hold inertia.
Therapeutic Processes: There may be a direct experience of Primary Respiration
self-directing the healing process by itself or in relationship with the fluid body. Primary Respiration may be sensed entering the field around the soma from and to the midline and making healing decisions where, when and how it chooses in the body. Inertial forces in the fluid body may be sensed to pause and “idle” as a connection is made to the stillness
within the inertial fulcrum. Inertial fulcrums resolve via the transmutation of Primary Respiration itself or as a function of the healing potency in the fluid body being activated by Primary Respiration. In other words, Primary Respiration initializes the fluid body as one possible healing vector.
Thus, the body of the Mid Tide may realign and reorient to the midline as inertial fulcrums begin to automatically shift when the wholistic shift (neutral) is accessed. This begins another type of therapeutic process in a biodynamic treatment. Or, as inertial issues clear, the direct action of Primary Respiration opening and coordinating all biological systems in the body, may also be sensed as another type of therapeutic process. Or, conception ignition may be reestablished, or balanced reciprocal tension potency (RTP) within the Mid Tide may be perceived. The RTP has a steady rate of 1-3 cycles per minute. It is typically perceived as a sleeve around or juxtaposed over or under the longitudinal fluctuation and the EMF of the midline.
Healing may be perceived (but is not limited to) any of these perceptions: (1) a return to stillness for the whole treatment (2) a clearing of conception shock and experiences coupled to it in the fluid body by the action of Primary Respiration in the fluid body, (3) The conception spark re-ignites the intention of healing in the tempo of Primary Respiration exclusively, or (4) Primary Respiration self-treats the soma without the fluid body being engaged.
Healing may be perceived to arise from the outside-to-inside and/or from inside-to-outside via transmutation and re-connection to the stillness of the embryonic midline and the stillness beyond the horizon. The practitioner is a humble heart-centered witness holding sacred space and midline relationships. She appreciates and may develop the ability to orient to her heart radiating love towards herself and others, or breathing her attention back and forth from the horizon, as Primary Respiration makes the healing decisions and decides what to allow the practitioner to perceive. Primary Respiration is self-directing, it knows where to go, how to go and how long to stay at the site of healing.
Inherent Treatment Plan: The practitioner may resonate with the Inherent
Treatment Plan of Primary Respiration already working in the client’s body and is able to sense its momentum and follow its pre-existing direction of ease without interference. The practitioner develops the ability to rest in the self-treating and self-correcting functions of Primary Respiration, the “sea around us”.
The contemporary client holds an enormous amount of inertia in his body and mind. Layer after layer of stress and trauma can be found in the so called “post modern” client. This includes the entire prenatal and perinatal experience, a time before language was available to express inner experience and consciousness. Despite all of this, there is a wisdom that manages to gracefully hold these relationships with such overwhelming stress. Even in the most stricken of clients that wisdom is there. In other words, there is already a therapeutic process occurring in the client’s body and mind. This is the Inherent Treatment Plan. It is the first function of the therapist to synchronize her attention with the process of wisdom that is already giving a treatment to the client.
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