Ged Sumner and Steve Haines in Conversation, March 2018, Calgary

Part 3: Teaching and Transformation, Transcript


‘It’s quite a journey, coming through the training.’ Ged Sumner


‘What is it to perceive? What is it to know? What is it to try to facilitate that in someone else?’ Steve Haines



Ged:    I notice people go through incredibly powerful transformations. When you came into the course, you must have noticed this. It has just become more and more remarkable, hasn’t it? What do you make of that?

Steve:  I always find the last graduation seminar incredibly moving, because all of the stories about how cranial work has changed people’s lives. People do the course for many reasons, but one of the big things, and one of the hardest things when you’re attempting to work in a healing profession, is meeting yourself. That’s one of the big processes we explore as we put people through a journey of personal growth – to meet the projections, stories, and fears that get in the way of you being present for someone else. To be present for someone else, you have to learn to be present for yourself.

We have some very rich teaching material around meditation exercises. Your book on Body Intelligence Meditation is a really wonderful piece of work that’s come out of our teaching experience. Giving people a real structure about somatic meditation, and coming into a sense of safety.

Out of that rich work is practicing staying present to yourself and being able to be present for someone else. Even if you don’t go on to become a craniosacral therapist with a practice, that’s a life skill that you can use to negotiate all the struggles of life and interactions with difficult, challenging people.

Ged:    Yes. It’s quite a journey, coming through the training. It’s just 10 modules and 20-odd months, but actually it’s quite intense in a way. People go through the most remarkable ups and downs, and the way the therapy has become this process-oriented phenomenon, and obviously students go through that as well. At the same time, there’s this learning space which is very open. I don’t think we’re dogmatic; it’s like an open exploration – I love that.

Steve:  Absolutely. Different courses go in different directions, but there’s a chance for real rich exploration, real intellectual depth, and satisfying models around how pain works trauma works, and: “What’s an emotion?”

Also an attempt to meet the mystery of life and acknowledge what I call, “embodied spirituality,” the sense we connect to ourselves, connect to others, connect to nature, connect to mystery; and a chance to directly experience that, through my relationship to myself, through my relationship to other people; and then trying to feel into the space around us, what we call a relational field.

That somehow enhances our sense of who we are; we can include more in our sense of self. That generates all sorts of interesting belief systems that we try to create an open space for, without imposing a form of spiritual belief, but really just an inquiry into the mystery: “What is it to perceive? What is it to know? What is it to try to facilitate that in someone else?”

That’s very, very rich; and leads us endlessly into interesting discussions and places based on the experience that people are continually trying to create a space where we’re meeting something that’s more than just a narrow, conditioned human being; but something that expands and includes their history, but also their relationship to the world as it is around them right now.

That’s a lot, isn’t it?

Ged:    Yes, it’s amazing. How do we do that?

Steve:  Yeah, I know. It’s just fun. It just naturally emerges from people inquiring into health with this philosophy of non-doing, but being present to a body.

Ged:    Kind of spontaneous and intuitive in the relationship, totally. I like what has occurred over the 10 years the program has been going where we’ve really given permission for tutors to be who they are, because I think we both recognize you are a unique expression of biodynamic work; and therefore, people need to teach from where they are with it. I really like that.

Steve:  Most courses will have a range of senior tutors, two or three I suspect, and we’ve really learned to celebrate that different tutors bring different things to a course; and that’s really, really valuable. Things I get really excited about I know would annoy the hell out of some other teachers, and we allow that.

We do have a structure and there’s core material that we’ve laid out, and we’ve learnt to teach in a variety of ways; but within that, we can allow contradictions and allow an ability to find your own truth and answer to those mysterious questions with this deep ongoing practice of touch, relationship, and meditative awareness.

Ged:    Yes.