CAPA SI 2003-06-June

Address to the Rolf Institute Annual Meeting, 1974

Pages: 15-18
Year: 2003
Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Structural Integration: The Journal of the Rolf Institute – June 2003 – Vol 31 Nº 02

Volume: 31
This speech originally appeared in the Bulletin of Structural Integration. It is intended to be inspiring, as appropriate to the occasion. It is touching to contemplate the combination of her old fashioned English (for instance, she uses the word "psychic" in an old sense, equivalent to "psychological ") with her forward-thinking, utopian vision.

Fonte: Structural Integration 2003

You all know about the vertical line; is you did not, I can’t imagine that you’re be here. The vertical line of Structural Integration is an abstraction, but it is more that an abstract vertical line. Probably you have never considered the possible significance of a biological vertical line. Have you eves realized that man is the only animal – the only animal – whose face is invisible as yot look down directly on the top of his head, Every other animal (including ancient man), as you look directly down through the top of his head, shows a large portion, if not the whole, of his face. This statement includes simians and (other) chimpanzees, and as I have said, it includes ancient man. That statement is very significant. It is implying that the progression from ancient tc modern man has been a verticalization which creates new relations within the creature.

If you look down on the top of a man’s head, you can project an imaginary vertical line, the top of that line is at the highest point on the skull, here. Do you realize that I’m saying that that vertical line is not merely a cosmetic something, although a person walking with the vertical line in place is a pleasing and impressing sight. This relationship has worked for humankind, bringing them up to where they are at present, aligning them with the field of gravity, monitoring their physiological development, etc. You have looked at rock drawings, but did you ever see a picture of ancient man on a rock drawing who really have any kind of vertical line? The whole development of our central nervous system ha; paralleled the development of the vertical line.

I am saying to you that as individual Rolfer; you need to preach to your clients, your students, your individual people – the recognition of the fact that fundamentally you are not relieving their backache, you are not trying to mitigate that “bellyache”….you are on a bigger job. You are trying to make ii possible for that nervous system which distinguishes them as humans, rather than as two-legged animals (of which there are others), to function more appropriately and more economically. As a matter of fact, the other two-legged animals are not built around a vertical line. They cannot raise the level of their activity, or attain the special value conferred by that vertical line. In other words, they cannot, by conscious awareness, increase their own potential. This is the big prerogative of man – if he wishes to use it.

To me, this is a basic and an extremely important idea. Some of you, I hope, will someday develop it further than I have. This is our function as Rolfers. When you say it in those terms, the task we have to accomplish becomes more and more apparent. Our job becomes to instigate personal evolution in humans, to further individual differentiations (psychological as well as physical) in mankind. Structural Integration is the tool by which this can be implemented.

I see our task less as creating than as establishing this improved function. What can we expect, what can we predict after it is established? Such questions involve measurements. As such, they belong to the scientists. They are questions with which Dr. Hunt, for example, has dealt and continues to deal.

The scientists validate our work with measurements, but you and I want to know experientially what is the difference in functioning in a well-“Rolfed” body versus that of one poorly-“Rolfed”. Important as this experiential evaluation may be, we are better equipped for our work if we know the difference in the surrounding energy fields, the energy waves, the energy measures. That huge central nervous plexus we call the brain begins to act differently and better if it is positioned directly above that vertical gravity line. This we see, we feel, we know, but what is the difference in the surrounding energy field? If we had something like that, we would have something by which we could check not only our own work, but also that of other techniques.

These are the kinds of measurements we are hoping to collect in the project covered in Dr. Hunt’s recent proposal. Of course, this depends on whether we will be able to fund this proposal. Here we shall be doing a great deal more than merely measuring. We shall be getting an understanding of what human personality, physical and psychic, is about. This is what I want to see mapped.

People so often come to you and ask, “What does Dr. Rolf want?” Here is the answer. With this map in front of you, you tell them what I want. I want to see what happens to the energy fields in and around an individual as you order his structure and what is the change in his behavior that parallels this change in energy. I want to see whether those fields get broader, whether they get brighter, whether they get more vertical, whether they get less confused. I want to see whether fields inter digitate, etc. These are all directions in which logically we should and must go if we are to fulfill what I envision as our destiny.

To go on this trip you need to stretch your imagination This is an important prerequisite. There is no limit to the infinite territory into which this leads. Most important to us as individuals and as Rolfers is the exploration of what changes occur in us as human beings coincident with these modifications in energy fields. What is the difference in our behavior? What is the difference in our – the stuff we usually refer to as “psychology?” But psychology is, after all, only a set of behavior patterns. I know we are modifying behavior patterns. Those of you who have been through it know that in Rolfing5, on the flesh level, we are certainly building the level of muscle tone and muscle well-being, not merely applying pressure to soft tissue. Correspondingly, we are intervening at that very nebulous area that we call psychology, which in its manifestation isn’t nebulous at all. Our basic interest lies in seeing how, what, where does that physical change impinge on the psychological area, or become the psychological area; is there a duality? Or is the old Aryan monism really the statement of what constitutes a man? Are we seeing that psychological manifestation is really just another side of the physical coin: not a different coin?

Many arguments can be advanced for each side. I’m perfectly free to confess that no matter how you play with those cards in your own little game of solitaire, you never really win – unless you cheat. You win when you obscure the real situation and identify it with the words used to describe it. Thus, the question so urgent to us: “Do you really change psychology?” requires an answer, “That depends.”

Those of us who actually do the Rolfing can quote endless experiences of basic psychological change. But some of us remember cases where we could not induce any such change. What physical factor determines whether we reach the psychological behavior pattern or not? Life and its manifestations can be most clearly understood as a spectrum. At this point there are extremes to that spectrum beyond our reach.

Perhaps if we understood more about how that physical body ties in to the psychological behavior pattern, we could reach further. At this point in our history it becomes our most urgent business to explore such possibilities. Not in a half-baked am at way, but in a rigidly controlled, discipline scientific exploration. This is one of the sons why the Rolf Institute has a Science Committee. They subject all plans for exploration to appropriate discipline must, in five years, or eight, or ten, ha some of the answers to these problems cannot let this confusion drift along aimlessly, randomly. We must find out what is that changes spirits as well as bodies, gives direction and purpose to the m himself, as well as to his body. We don know. We can talk at it, we can talk a.. it, but at this time we can realistically point only to the fact that it happens, that the himself seems to change.

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It reminds me of something that Sandy ?” to me the other day. We were at the Jo Denver concert at Red rocks Amphithea and she had suddenly become aware of ‘ whole surrounding mass of random people She hadn’t had this experience before be cause for several weeks she had been isolated with a group of Rolfers. Now she looked at this mass of people and she said “You know, when you’ve been in these Roll classes a little while and you come out and look around, people look so funny.” Thai might be called the understatement of the month. But on an idiomatic level she is referring to that vertical line and to what hap, pens to people as it is introduced into the body. This is the visible behavioral changed, in the body into which a vertical is insert This is what our Science Committee will o day explain in terms of measurements can be made and replicated. But the crux the problem remains, in terms of the “Rolfed body”, what is it that has change human behavior? This is the secret of Rolfer’s enthusiasm he sees this change.

If I could somehow fire you with enthusiasm to go home and refuse to take your $35.00 from your client unless you c evoke an equal enthusiasm and understanding that that vertical line is his key more vital living, I will have done my today. But the trouble is that that visit fades so fast in everyday chores; nevertheless, try to get it for only as all your clients really understand the function and importance of the line can we change cultural premises.

During these last years meaningful scientific work and thinking have been appearing concerned with energy and energy fields. In so many cases the direction of These four Illustrations demonstrate the changes In skulls with the progression of the vertical stance. Number 1 is the skull of a mandrill monkey. Number 2 is that of a gorilla. Note how the jaw here is shortening and the skull increasing in width cientific thinking is determined by the availability of instrumentation applicable to the questions under consideration. This is the way it has been with biological energy or, if you prefer, energies. Only very recently has instrumentation been available to give definite answers to anything connected with energy. One of the more thrilling of the studies is detailed in a book by Harold Saxton Burr. The American edition of his book is called Fields of Life, published by Ballantine Books in 1972. If you’ve not seen it, you have an inspiring experience ahead of you.

The book documents a forty-year long study of a man who was professor of anatomy at Yale University. During those four decades he studied energy fields around living materials. His experiments covered a very wide range – from trees to humans. As a result of these studies there can be little doubt about the reality of energy fields around living organisms.

Another book supporting the thesis of energy as it is found around living organisms is one which many of you know. It is titled The Secret Life of Plants, by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird, published by Harper and Row in 1973. This book is not in a class with Burr’s in scientific acceptability. However, it is encyclopedic in scope and well documented, giving a thrilling overview of the energy universe lying around us. It offers signposts and a certain amount of guidance, recording work done by keen-sighted individuals and their educated guesses. It has gathered together work published over forty years or more in old, “far out”, borderland periodicals that were originally addressed to fringe-group people.

The time seems to have come when people, even the scientifically-oriented, are willing to look at such observations. Tompkins and Bird were good collectors, and good reporters; they have given a great service collecting those odd reports and putting them into one place.

These books offer evidence that many kinds of supportive ideas are coming up around us. It is the voice of the times, of the zeitgeist.

We have now come to the point in the history of Structural Integration where we have to make a comprehensible connection between the real world and the world of ideas: a real world, in which a 28-year old woman sits in a wheelchair, never having been really mobile, and in a week gets out of that wheelchair and starts to walk. That real world must be related to the world of ideas concerning magnetic fields – life fields without and within and through an individual.

Once when I was a lot younger, I knew that the whole answer lay somehow in the measurement of chemistries. I now know that such an idea is too simplistic. Neither chemistry as such, nor ordinary physiology, can explain what happened to that girl. Whatever it was, it certainly changed her legs. But she’d always had legs, she’d always had feet, but they were not under her, they rested on the pedals of the wheelchair. But now something new was there, something that dealt with relation: the relation of the position of those feet with reference to the legs, the position of the legs with reference to the hips, and the position of the hips with reference to the controls that were located above the waist. We can only think in terms of that tenuous word, “relations.”

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The third pictures a cast of a skull of a 40,000 year old, “classic Neanderthal” man – found at “La Chapelle; France.

The fourth is that of a skull of modern man, the arrow indicating the high point on the head.

You have all heard me talk about “relations” and “relating.” I don’t doubt that in our early acquaintance it was a source of confusion. Today I feel that the basic units which are related are less units of flesh than energy fields; these fields are enhanced or minimized in terms of their relation to the larger gravitational fields within which they exist. These lesser energies must first relate appropriately. Then the improved physiology really takes over.

We talk about “the good old days.” We love to do that; we love to talk about how wonderful it was when everything was simple; when right was right and wrong, wrong. But look back at what was really going on; explore their realities. When did the average person become old in those days? Wasn’t it at age fifty? At age fifty a woman was a grandmother. She sat in the corner alongside the stove and darned the kids’ stockings. And if grandma wasn’t feeling very well today, she couldn’t go out today. Her activity was sharply curtailed. They had other names for such situations, but in those days as well as these, those fields weren’t in such good shape. Don’t kid yourself. We are an evolving creature. At this point we can well evolve to a level where we can see our own space; where we consciously take charge and give direction. This is not an impossible goal. Had I preached this story five years ago, I know I would have been giving out energy but I doubt that my bait would have caught any eager fish. Today I hope that among you there are the kind of fish that will go out and bring in another school of fish …. not to get their aches and pains taken out, not to have their symptoms removed, but that they may contribute to the understanding of energy in the human universe.

Let’s take a final look at Marjorie, the girl who had spent 28 years in a wheelchair. She left here about a week ago on her way to Dr. Valerie Hunt. Before Marjorie came here, Dr. Hunt had made very extensive electromyographic readings. She measured not only simple energies in the muscles but also tried to get readings on the antagonistic muscles, a combination that had not been read before. She was also trying something else, something farther out and less predictable. She was getting energy readings of] this spot here (the spot on the forehead referred to as “the third eye”). She was also getting readings on the abdomen, from an area known as “The Warmer.”

This is not a new idea. All of these things have been talked about. Where? – in those “nutty occult books.” They have beer talked about for the last 2,000 years. But, up to recently, no instruments have beer available to measure such changes. I hope Dr. Hunt also measured energy at this level, at the top of the head. It was I who asked for that measurement, and I think all of you Rolfers know why. You all know how energy streams through the top of the head when you have properly ordered the myofasciae of the head and neck. But you see, Dr. Hunt is still a scientist and as such doesn’t yet know that this spot at the top of the head tells you specifically of the physical well-being of a person. As Rolfers you hands have explained this to you.

These are the realities with which we have to deal. Our task is to take these realities and place them back into the realm of the relatively well-known and the relatively commonplace. Up to this point, clients have been able to recognize that their shoulders have been leveled or their knees balanced forward instead of backward or their ischia. tuberosities leveled. But at this point you have to inject the realization that we are dealing with something more potent that mere muscles – that we are evoking ideas, recognitions. Their intensity and validity somehow relate to that vertical line – to the physical order and balance to which the line bears witness. One day these ideas will have penetrated throughout the culture. As you very well understand, you as individual practitioners do a great deal of selection and get top people into your orbit. It is through people of this level that ideas are disseminated. There are times, and they will probably be increasing in number, where this type of selectivity can no longer be expected in your clients. The time is at hand when other methods of selection will predominate in limited areas. We hope and expect to continue along a road which is now being mapped, and about which Judy Aston will talk to you.

The opportunity has opened for us this year of going into hospitals and “Rolfing” chronically ill people to see what this type of ordering – Structural Integration – will do to a sampling of people, random except for their common suffering, their lower back pain. Presumably as we get into more hospital and other institutional work, we will be dealing with a larger percentage of random people. They will differ from those we see in this room, for that random group will show a higher percentage of true pathology and tissue degeneration. Their response on the deeper personality levels will necessarily be slower.

But here among our own group, our Rolfers, we are able to study a more homogeneous sample – and are operating on higher emotional levels. This group is able to deal with ideas – to be inspired by ideas. To these people, giving them an idea is like putting gasoline into the tank of a good car; the car can go somewhere. With this more highly selected and developed group of people it is possible to demonstrate that in this world there is nothing more potent than an idea.

You can’t see an idea, you can’t feel it, you don’t know where it comes from, but it can move a whole population, a whole nation, a whole world. You all know this. Madison Avenue has taught you. But it works in a mini-, as well as a maxi-climate. I had an amusing experience a couple of weeks ago. John Lodge and I were driving along together, and he was talking about a visit he paid to one of the Indian mesas in Southern Colorado. John’s complaint was that the Indian medicine men would not admit them to their religious services. I said, “Well you go back there now and tell them that you are a medicine man, a shaman, and they’ll look you over and admit you. Because you are a shaman – you are dealing with that level of the personality-the finer energy levels.” If I had given John a million dollars he couldn’t have had a broader smile.

The statement I made to him was the truth -you, as Rolfers, are dealing not only with the physical levels, the flesh, but with the finer energy levels – the psychic, perhaps the spiritual (I do not consider myself to be an expert in differentiating these latter two). The witness for this is widespread. Even such a died-in-the-wool scientist as Valerie Hunt comes to me and says, “I cannot begin to tell you the difference in my psychic understandings and perceptions since you have worked with me.” Fritz Perls bore a similar witness.

You can see this in individuals, you all have. You can see it on group levels. We have had the experience of it here recently in our Selection Committee. This group did an outstanding job and evidenced a striking difference in their perception of the motivations and capacities of applicants. The experience in 1974 was entirely different from earlier selections.

Improved spiritual level is apparent in the energy and direction of this entire meeting. We can only look and wonder and give thanks. We are witnessing the potent work of an idea. The 1974 Institute and Guild deliberate and supplement their plans on higher, more efficient levels. This can, I am sure, be credited to your leaders. Your vanguard has focused energy, much of it made available through Rolfing. The chaos which characterizes any new enterprise is disappearing, but simultaneously the chaos of the random bodies of newcomers has been lessening, allowing the percentage of order to increase. You are assisting. You apply your supportive energy more appropriately. You contribute to the reinforcement of group purpose behind individuals. This kind of progression is the reality of energy; it is the manifestation of human energies on their way to a more conscious world. As Rolfers we travel a fascinating road. I thank you for the privilege of accompanying you. I bid you enjoy your many programs and may we end by all going out and seeing auras.

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