Somatic Science™ is an orientation, not a set of techniques. The orientation is an affirmation that our reality is consciousness, the energetic intelligence that renders all circumstances neutral and ultimately benevolent.
The singular aim of this approach is the joy of being comfortable with oneself. This joy is not circumstantial but attitudinal; in other words it is independent of any observable conditions. Trauma is the single most important factor determining whether we are comfortable or uncomfortable with ourselves. Quite amazingly, trauma is also ignored by most therapeutic modalities. It is unwittingly reinforced in our society as conditioning due to its subliminal nature -its physiological basis in human survival and evolution.
In this joy there is no possibility of return to suffering. It is knowing that all is well right here & now, and that this is the essence of my existence. Quite simply, it is to be comfortable with oneself unconditionally.
Trauma is manifested in the human being as suffering caused by a discomfort with present-moment consciousness - now. This suffering manifests itself to conscious awareness of the body particularly through the functioning of the autonomic nervous system. This functioning becomes entrenched (chronic) over time through external conditioning, which reinforces neural networks and pathways within the central, peripheral and autonomic nervous systems. According to Peter Levine, the key conditions of trauma are only two: the experience of fear simultaneous with the experience of immobility.
The external conditioning for trauma is set into the organism by threatening circumstances which cause the organism to experience a sense of separation or fragmentation. This starts as a fragmentation of its own experience (i.e. different body parts manifesting dysfunction from the whole) and then from here and now within the perceived external environment (Nature) where all is well, always. The original wound conditioning is continuously reinforced by external agents, and later in childhood becomes set into a pattern of behavioral/mental characteristics.
Joy is to know oneself as the uninterrupted intelligence that is aware of writing and reading these words right here, right now. This is the ultimate comfort and safety beyond any circumstance.
We use interventions such as Therapeutic Inquiry® and Dialectical Inquiry® to disrupt and eventually undo external conditioning. This returns the experience of the human being into its rightful realm, as an ongoing experience occurring within consciousness. Watch the videos on this page to better understand these forms of inquiry.
Amphibians in the contemporary world
The apparent duality of the world, that is the bipolar world that we live in, is the simple result of the functional division between the two branches of the autonomic foundation of the central nervous system. This division is initially physiological and later becomes habituated (a pseudo psychological entity) as the child becomes more mature.
The two branches of the autonomic nervous system are the sympathetic and the parasympathetic.
The functioning of these two branches of the autonomic nervous system are so polarized and apparently in opposition to each other, that they create in the awareness of the individual an equally polarized and self-perpetuating projection of the world. This polarized functioning is controlled by an ancient neural mechanism inherited from amphibians more than 270 million years ago. This ancient mechanism has created a model of the world that seeks to mirror itself and its own dual functioning.
By supporting the evolutionarily perfect functioning of the system, we engage the polyvagal systems within the Vagus neural networks, which mediate between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system in coordination with the cortical and limbic systems. This involves the respiratory diaphragm, the pelvic floor, the flow of cerebrospinal fluid along the entire spinal cord, the heart, lungs and pericardium and the vagal interfaces between them and the neural pathways in the face. It also enhances a health-promoting relationship between respiration and heart muscle tone-rhythm. This can allow for a smooth transition between autonomic states (self-regulation) while remaining aware of ourselves and our connection as consciousness to the body via the sensorimotor pathways.