India. Arie sings in "Acoustic Soul", "This is in remembrance of our ancestors - Sam Cook, Marvin Gaye, and Donny Hathaway... and all that came before, you opened up door... cause of you, a change gonna come"...
I love her vibe, her music, and the depth of her songs... to me she is an authentic mystical poetess. I also like how she honors the roots of her craft, Rhythm n Blues, and the people she learned from. So India, i will borrow your idea as I pay homage to some of "our ancestors", - some of the great contributors to humanities' understanding of the miraculous benefits Human Touch. Without them, and many others too numerous to name, ARUN Conscious Touch and our understanding, would never have been possible.
Thank you all... and Bless you.
ARUN is lovingly dedicated to the on-going, conscious evolution of creative human touch. So it gives me great joy to share with you my love and appreciation for the contribution of these great men and women to the world of touch, healing, and meditation... if you take the time to study and imbibe the insights of any of these people, i am sure it will enhance your understanding of yourself and of your touch.
Where to start? The roots of ARUN, Yoga, Meditation, and most all of Eastern and Western bodywork can be found in India, so first i want to acknowledge the enlightened Doctor, friend, and disciple of Guatama the Buddha.
"Shivago" is honored, revered, and recognized as the founder of Traditional Thai Massage (which i was introduced to in 1987), but he was much more than that. He lived with and traveled with Buddha, and treated his thousands of sannyasins. (There is a beautiful story of how he cured Buddha of food-poisoning, following an attempt on his life). His method of taking care of and healing the body was through herbs, diet, breath awareness, conscious movements, meditation, and touching the whole body. His understanding of the "energy lines" and the energy centers, or "Chakras" made it possible to treat any illness of the bodymind. Shivago and Buddha also felt that if the physical body was in harmony, it was much easier to sit in Vipassana, or Meditation. By honoring Shivago, i am simultaneously honoring the invaluable contribution of the many anonymous ancient Indian "Rishi's", or "Enlightened Seers", who did intense inner experiments on themselves and developed "Yog-Sadhana". Out of their discoveries grew all the various schools and methods of Yoga asanas, Pranayama breathing techniques, and the medical science and life philosophy known as "Ayurveda".
My life and work with the body is deeply related to my love affair with Yoga, which began in 1973. For the first 3 years, i practiced daily on my own, but in 1975, i met a real teacher who helped me immensely- and completely changed the direction my life was taking. His name is Swami Satya Pujari, and he had a thriving Yoga school in San Diego, California- it is through Pujari i first heard the alchemical words "Acceptance Is Transcendence". He was a close disciple of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who is known throughout the world today as "Osho". So with Pujari i learned about Osho, his Dynamic and active meditations, and about his Ashram in India. When i first traveled to India to meet Osho in 1976, i was pleasantly surprised and happy to learn that a very deep and well-respected Yoga teacher also lived in Pune, and taught classes there. His name is B.K.S. Iyengar, and he has written the classic yoga book "Light on Yoga". For 2 months i attended classes with Swami Iyengar, and his son and daughter. It was very interesting for me as a 24 year old Westerner, but what left a more lasting and deeper impression on me was what i learned about Yoga and the Body in the presence of Osho, whose 12 books on the yoga sutras of Patanjali, and numerous other books on Tantra and Taoism remain some of the deepest words and observations ever uttered on these inner sciences.
F. Matthias Alexander (1869-1955)
an authentic pioneer in touch-based healing methods, made a deep impact on what is possible with Human Touch and self-awareness. I am very thankful that i was introduced to his work and his vision of movement during the 1970's. "The Use of the Self", his groundbreaking book, explains the importance of awareness in movement, the importance of the "kinesthetic system" in the human body, and how you can re-educate your ways of doing things to relieve tension and pain. Two of his colleagues, Wilfred Barlow (author of The Alexander Principle) and Mabel Todd (The Thinking Body: A Study of Balancing Forces of Dynamic Man, published in 1939- a classic!), both shared valuable insights we can all benefit from.
Ida Rolf (1896-1979)
was a genius, and did something extremely original. Never before was it imagined that the body structure of an adult could positively change so dramatically and so rapidly. Her understanding of gravity and fascia and using your hands to melt tension should be learned by everyone (though I think many of her hand techniques were a bit too angular and invasive). Many of her students have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to our understanding of fascia and the body.
Jack Painter (1937- )
took his understanding of gravity and deep connective tissue massage and added Wilhelm Reich's emotional release and breathing techniques- a very potent mix! I studied with Jack in 1976-77 and learned a lot.
Milton Trager (1909-1997)
I can still feel his touch inside of me, 30 years later... So present, so round, so light, so deep- and so pleasurable. One of my most important teachers- his sessions also changed the body structure and movement in a very noticeable way. His way of teaching and learning by feeling is very dear to my heart. What he calls "Hook - Up" is a quantum leap into meditative touch. I have an interview with him, a few months before he died that I will publish in a book I am preparing- pure inspiration! I love this quote from Milton, taken from one of his classes: "Hook-Up is a state of being... it is a Hook-Up of this power that you are surrounded by. It is a life-giving, life-regulating power that has always been there. And you can't try to get it. You can't try to Hook-Up because to try is to fail. You don't try. To try is effort and effort is tension. We don't try. We just allow it to happen. You are going to feel. It is not the moves I do or the technique. Drop the work technique. [Trager] is not a technique. It is something different"
Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984)
and his understanding of the brain, skeleton, and movement should be part of every "psycho-physical" education program. I'm sure that 10 good classes based on his methods would enhance and change anyone's movement ability, coordination, and awareness in their Body. His way of seeing and touching the Body has really helped open my eyes, that's for sure...
Randolph Stone (1890-1981)
I first heard of Randolph Stone and his "Polarity Therapy", in the 1970's and was very impressed. If i hadn't met Osho at the same time, i would have loved to study with him. Years later, i read his many Books (devoured is more like it!) and feel that he is a true Mystic-Scientist, and the grandfather of "Vibrational Medicine". What he sees and shares about subtle Energy, the Cranio Sacral system, Touch, Yoga, and Healing is still far beyond our common knowledge. He was a meditator, and a pioneer of the "New Physics". I think that like Osho, it will be at least 50 years after his death that humanity in general will be able to understand what he is sharing. One of his long-time students, Dr Robert Kall had this to say about him and his way of being with people: "There was a special insistent quality about his touch. When he directed attention to someone's suffering body, a demand was transmitted from his hands to the other's awareness. It was a call to life, an insistence on becoming conscious. Many times I watched resistant flesh begin to release its contraction and vibrate under his hands. Then he would laugh and proclaim the simplicity of the whole procedure. "It's just energy blocks in the connective tissue", he would exclaim, "probably poor digestion, yes, we only need to help it along a little here!" And his patient would be wide-eyed with astonishment at the cascade of feelings that were being catalyzed by this man's stubby thumbs. He was a healer whose hands probed and explored. Inevitably they sought out the place where the soul was hiding, refusing to expand or struggling to open. It was there, in that hidden place, that Dr. Stone did his wonderful work."
Discoverers of Shiatsu, Acupressure, Acupuncture, Chakra Balancing, and Reflexology, like the Ancient Rishis who gave to us Yoga, the discoverers of these "Energy Line" and "Energy Point"- based healing methods were meditative scientists. They are all rooted in authentic "holistic" understanding of the Human Energy Field. The first time i saw a woman giving a Reflexology foot massage in 1975, i was transfixed, and knew then that i wanted to learn how to touch. An old friend from Portugal who i met in 1978 in India, Swami Prashantam, introduced me to the theories and application of Shiatsu, while i taught him about deep tissue massage and Postural Integration. That was one of the many bonuses being with Osho in his Ashram in India, and then later in the U.S.- all of us in the Healing Arts were happy to share with other, without any fear of competition or jealousy... so i was also able to learn informally, from real experts, the secrets of Acupressure, acupuncture, Psychic massage, Chakra Balancing, Osteopathy, Chiropractic, the Alexander Technique, Massage, Tai Chi, as well as many other forms of healing and meditation- what a blessing!
Ilse Middendorf (1910- )
Her revolutionary contribution to the field of "Breath Awareness" has been her discovery of the "3 Rooms of breath movements" (bottom, middle, upper). By using the unconscious breath as the starting point, making it conscious through sensing, feeling, focusing, and being aware a new possibility is revealed. Her formula of "we let the breath come, we let the breath go, and we wait until it comes back by itself", has a very deep significance for anyone interested in meditation. She has developed a series of movement awareness exercises and hands-on touching strategies that helps the participant to expand inward, creating inner spaces, with the Breath being a mirror to get to know yourself, and a way to experience your inner world.
John Upledger (1932- )
Is another beacon of light in the evolution of Conscious Touch, and still very active. He entered my life in 1983, through a good friend and colleague from Munich, Robert Schleip, Ph.D.. We were 2 of the original Osho Rebalancers in India years before, and so he brought me as a present, Dr Upledger's ground-breaking classic book "CranioSacral Therapy". After Robert taught me the Basic CranioSacral Protocol, I immediately started including it in my work with Rebalancing, which i was teaching at the time in Osho's Commune in Oregon. My sense of touch and sensitivity was noticeably enhanced, and it changed my understanding of the Human Energy Field. Dr Upledger's courage to present this work to the general public was very controversial in Osteopathic circles- up until that time it was only taught to Doctors. When i met Dr John in Italy 9 years later at an advanced Cranio training, i did an extensive, provocative, interview with him and was able to see and feel his passion, love, and dedication to the Healing Arts. His Clinic in Florida, and all of his books, are there for all to benefit from.
William Garner Sutherland (1873-1954)
is a very Spiritual and scientific genius. His journey of discovery of the Cranio-Sacral Tides within the Body, the motility and motions of all the cranial bones, and literally hundreds of unique and easy to use healing contacts, places him in a rare place in any discussion of the evolution of Human Touch. His wife Adah has written an incredible book about his discoveries and life called, "With Thinking Fingers". Everyone interested in Touch and the Body should read this book, written with love and only 100 pages long. I cried a few times while reading. Will Sutherland's own books are also super informative, inspiring, and full of fresh ideas about the mystery and miracle of the Human Body. Impossible for me to say enough about this incredible man... so down to earth, rooted in Nature, and in touch with the Divine.
Andrew Still (1828-1917)
is the father of Osteopathy, and the teacher of Will Sutherland and many other touch-based healers. He is also a very Spiritual innovator and helped start a vision of the Body and Life, which continues to be needed in the world today. Starting at the end of the 19th century, Still had a way sharing and teaching very similar to the "Master- Disciple" relationship so prevalent in the Eastern disciplines. While he was alive, "Osteopathy" was a religious happening. His approach offered a qualitatively different approach to treating all disease. He did not emphasize "technique" in his teaching, but urged his students to understand the Energy Field. One can only marvel at the depth of his and his disciples understanding of anatomy and physiology! "According to many who studied with him and others who have spent many years studying his works, it was his hope that the experience of living, dynamic anatomy would awaken dormant centers of perception in the student. Gradually, over a period of years of focused attention, conscious intention of purpose and deep, non-judgmental concentration on the experience of life as manifested in the patient, the physician would evolve to a higher level of interaction with the dynamic mechanism of the patient. He would evolve into an osteopath. That was Dr. Still's hope in sharing his work." (Foreword of Still's "Osteopathy: Research and Practice" - 1910)
Rollin Becker (1910- 1996)
was a student and friend of Will Sutherland, who took his vision of "liquid light", and tuning into the Cranio-Sacral waves, into deeper and deeper stillness and healing potentials. Very rare vision for a Western doctor and very inspiring. I love reading his books (try "Life in Motion" for starters), and he has also passed the torch of Cranial Sacral investigations to a new generation of explorers, many who will be mentioned here...
George Ivanovich Gurdjieff (1872-1949)
was a spiritual mystic and the great teacher of the Fourth Way. He has been one of my favorite authors- I have read and reread his Books many times- my all-time favorite is "Beelzebub's Tales to his Grandson". Too many things to say about this Man: his "Stop" technique; self-remembering; the "3 Brains and 3 Centers in Man"; dis-indentification; his love of Mulla Nasruddin... Gurdjieff was also an amazing healer, and his vision of inner physical, emotional, and energetic anatomy has improved and enhanced my vision...
Dr Norman Walker
Dr Fred Bisci
Dr Bernard Jensen
Richard Anderson N.D.
Herbert M. Shelton
many more scientists, mystics, healers, dancers, musicians, poets, meditators, cooks, gardeners, friends and lovers, have been, and are part of, the on-going evolution of ARUN Conscious Touch...