Continuation of the article by my friend Raymond Bishop, Certified Advanced Rolfer.

The ideas of Tolle have a strong resonance with a much earlier esoteric philosopher, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff who integrated Eastern tenets with his uniquely confrontational approach to enlightenment. In his hagiographic study of Gurdjieff and his philosphy, John Shirley frequently affirms this mystic’s belief that we must go through the body to attain enlightenment.

For Gurdjieff, to be sure, the human body is the crucible of transmutation. An active work with turning attention to the sensations of the body – combined with taking conscious ‘impressions’ of one’s inner and outer state – is the beginning of the transmutation that creates a lasting soul.¹¹

Jennifer Hecht, the author of an ambitious consideration of the history of doubt in religious thought, offers another perspective on this somatic path to enlightenment in her discussion of renunciation as taught in the Hindu faith. She says, in part:

The Hindu notion of meditation is essentially that when we can manage silence and stillness, we get a glimpse of our real self. . . . To be at peace we must clear away everything that is not the true inner self. This ‘everything’ includes one’s own body in particular, because this is the source of so much useless, distracting, and redundant desire.¹²

Whether the body acts as the source of distraction as the Hindus believed, the means through which we attain “no-self”, or, whether it is the wounded raging ego gnawing on the bones of problems projected into the future or recycling from its past, as Tolle argues, any discipline that takes us deeper into present moment awareness should be considered a valuable resource for all wishing to experience themselves more fully. From somatic awareness spiritual awareness may soon emerge. So, any modality that evokes and teaches awareness has the potential of being in and of itself a means of approaching the meditative state. We can therefore reasonably assume that embodied SI work done in a fully engaged and cooperative manner can evoke this state not only in the client but also in the practitioner.
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Continuation of the article written by my friend Raymond Bishop, Certified Advanced Rolfer.

If we focus too much on muscular structures, we miss the larger fascial planes that morph and alter the dynamic relationships between these structures. Conversely, swimming in the fascia without a constant eye to the mutating coastline, the rocky shoals and obdurate projectiles where the fascia binds and adheres may feel wonderful, but, in doing so, we will widely miss the mark if our primary goal is improving fascial connections in relation to what Dr. Rolf and her students call “the line” (an organizational construct that runs through the central vertical axis of the body).⁵

This fascial sensing may seem rather abstract, but it proves to be the primary way through which we not only create and sense order but also access the meditative. But before we address the meditative state, a bit more about the nature of Rolfing. Another general perception is that what we do is mechanistic and goal oriented. Many bodyworkers read and learn that Rolfing is a protocol, a pattern of sessions, logically sequenced with a series of clearly defined goals and rigidly delineated fascial territories. They also learn that there are specific techniques associated with each session and pay considerable amounts of money for one of the numerous programs and accompanying manuals out there that detail highly specific protocols for these basic sessions. They also learn that there are movement cues as well as awareness and muscular retraining exercises that accompany each hour and carefully graft these to their sessions.⁶  Furthermore, interested students of SI will find that some styles have a more psychological orientation and  include emotional work and homework questions to be filled out by the client between sessions to deepen the emotional nature of their experience of the series.
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Ray Bishop was a close friend and colleague of mine who passed away in December 2008. What follows is a memorial I wrote for Ray. With the permission of his life partner, Carlton, I am also having Ray guest blog with an article he wrote titled, Bodywork as Meditation. I just re-read this article and got back in touch with how much I love it. Sharing it with others through my blog seemed a natural way to honor and pay tribute to a brilliant man that I very much miss.
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