Glossary – page 2



Ordering field or matrix: the ordering matrix is a general term for the ordering field that is laid down at conception, within which the embryo forms and tissues are organized throughout life. This field has two aspects. A quantum-level ordering matrix is first laid down at conception by the action of the Breath of Life, from which a second field is then generated, a local torus-shaped bioelectric ordering matrix, suspended within the tidal body of Long Tide. The bioelectric ordering matrix is the field from which potency (embodied ordering force) is generated within the fluids of the body via transmutation (change in state). It is the field within which the embryo forms, which maintains cellular and tissue organization throughout life. The energetic midline of the bioelectric ordering field is called the “primal midline,” which is the ordering midline for tissues throughout life (see “potency” “transmutation” “Long Tide” and “midline”).

Orienting: to orient within a biodynamic context means to hold an awareness of particular phenomenon, anatomical parts, relationships, forces etc. within a wide perceptual field. The word orient points to the important skill of perceiving specific phenomenon or relationships within a wide and holistic field of awareness, without narrowing one’s perceptual field or attention.

Original motion: a term coined by Victor Schauberger, an Austrian scientist to denote his experience of the Long Tide as a primary wind-like ordering phenomenon.


Perceptual Field: the wide field of receptive awareness that a practitioner generates and maintains in session work, a holistic field of presence and awareness with the client’s midline at its center, a field within which a practitioner orients and appropriately responds to the particulars of: (1) Dynamic Stillness and primary respiration, (2) the unfolding of the inherent treatment plan, (3) the dynamics of the tidal, fluid and physical bodies, (4) the expression of potency and conditional forces and forms, and (5) the specifics of healing processes which emerge.

Potency: W. G. Sutherland DO’s term for the embodied expression of primary respiration present within the fluids of the body. It is an intelligent life force that has organizational, protective and healing properties and functions to organize cells and tissues from embryological formation, throughout life. It protects the system from the intrusion of conditional forces by locally coalescing and confining the force to as small an area as possible in order to reduce its impact upon the system. As the holistic shift deepens, potency may make healing decisions and shift within the fluid body towards an inertial site. It is very similar to the understanding in Chinese medicine and Taoism of “jing”, or “vital essence” within the fluids of the body, a coalescence of “cosmic chi” which maintains our mind-body form throughout life and supports our “shen” or spirit to know Tao (see “Fluid tide” and “Inertial fulcrums”).

Practitioner fulcrums: denotes the establishment of an inner ground of stillness, within which the practitioner can rest while oriented to clients’ system and arising process. Practitioner fulcrums help the practitioner stay differentiated from—and not merged with—the client’s arising process. Common practitioner orientations are to their own midline and to an inner fulcrum of stillness, commonly resting one’s inner awareness within their own heart center. Practitioners learn to settle into their practitioner fulcrums and widen their perceptual field from their midline and inner center of stillness.

Prana: is the Sanskrit for “vital life”. In Vedantic philosophy, it is the concept of a vital, life-sustaining force, which orders and maintains living beings. It is comparable to the Chinese notion of Qi.

Presence: a state of wide, soft receptive awareness that practitioners enter as they orient to a client’s system. It is a natural state present at the core of our being.

Primary respiration: A term coined by W. G. Sutherland DO to denote the enlivening, ordering and healing principle at work within and around the human system. It manifests within a vast field of action as the Long Tide and its tidal body. It steps-down in intensity within the fluids of the body to manifest as potency, an embodied expression of primary respiration, generating the fluid tide (see “Long Tide” “Fluid tide” and “Potency”).


Reciprocal tension motion: the natural tensegrity and motion generated holistically in the tissue field by primary respiration and the ordering matrix and potency it generates. As potency shifts in the cycles of the fluid tide, the whole tensile tissue field—suspended in fluid body—naturally shifts with it in the cycles of inhalation and exhalation (see “tensegrity”).

Resonance: a process whereby the state of the practitioner, and his or her orientation, resonates within the client’s mind-body system. It is through resonance with the practitioner’s state of presence and orientation to primary respiration, which allows the client to enter a more primary being-state, within which the holistic shift clarifies and deepens and primary respiration comes to he forefront.


Qi (chi): The Chinese term for the enlivening and ordering forces of life.
Quantum level: a level of reality where organization is based upon sub-atomic quantum effects and quantum order. Recent research has shown that multicellular organisms are organized in quantum fields, literally fields of light.

Quantum touch: a perceptual state described by Rollin Becker DO, where the practitioner’s perceptual field can sense and perceive a quantum level of organization.


Step-down: a term coined by Randolph Stone DO to denote a shift in state from one level of life force to another. This is similar in concept to Sutherland’s term, “transmutation” (see “transmutation”).

Stillness: stillness is at the heart of work in biodynamics. Many expressions of stillness arise in session work, from tensile equilibrium, to a dynamic equilibrium of forces, to a direct expression of Dynamic Stillness. The Breath of life arises from the formative ground of Dynamic Stillness, which, in turn, maintains balance and equilibrium within the human system and is present at the core of every organizing fulcrum and midline (See Dynamic Stillness).

Stillpoint: a process where a gateway opens as the system deepens into stillness and session work orients to Long Tide or to the Dynamic Stillness itself. Stillpoint commonly manifests as a relative state of deepening stillness where healing processes emerge and potency within the fluids augments in intensity and action. Stillpoint can be facilitated as the practitioner orients to the client’s system and midline in a wide perceptual field, while deepening into stillness and orientation to Dynamic Stillness.


Tensegrity: the characteristic property of a stable three-dimensional structure consisting of members under tension and members under compression, which manifest as a unified field of organization.

Tensile field: a field of action that holds a natural tension and tensegrity, such as the reciprocal tension membrane in the cranium, and the connective tissue field as a whole (see “reciprocal tension motion”).

Tidal body: see “The three bodies”

Tidal potency: a classic name for the ordering forces that manifests within the fluid body as tidal motion generating the fluid tide and tissue motility. Tidal potency has organizational, protective and healing functions (see “potency”).

Tide: W. G. Sutherland DO’s term for the deepest expression of primary respiration, the Long Tide. The “Tide” is capitalized to indicate that it is the most formative ground of primary respiration.

Tissue field: the tissues of the body as a unified tensile field of action.

Tissue motility: an inherent primary respiratory motion within cells and tissues ordered and driven by the action of potency, the basic ordering force within the human mind-body system, active within the embryo and throughout life.

The three bodies: a useful perceptual concept originating in cranial osteopathic practice. It denotes the fields of action generated at conception as Long Tide orients to the newly formed conceptus–the tidal, fluid and physical bodies. Each field is suspended within another, becoming denser and denser until physical form, the densest, is generated. This has the quality of fields-within-fields, not dissimilar to many traditional medical systems like Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, where consciousness becomes denser and denser until form is generated. The three bodies may be perceived as a suspensory system—the tidal body the widest and least dense, yet most formative, the fluid body denser and the physical body, the densest, all suspended within each other. As the holistic shift deepens, these three bodies enter a deepening state of suspensory equilibrium or balance, all suspended in stillness. They are:

  • Tidal body: is a term for the vast torus-shaped field which Long Tide generates as it expresses its stable respiratory cycles of 50 seconds exhalation and 50 seconds inhalation around a person’s midline. The tidal body is the wider field within which the ordering matrix, fluid body, physical body and body-mind system are suspended and breathed. The fluid and physical bodies are formed within the tidal body of Long Tide and remain suspended within it as fields-within-fields throughout life (see “Long Tide”, “Ordering field or matrix” “Primary respiration”).
  • Fluid body: is the body’s holistic fluid/energetic field composed of (1) the fluids within the physical body and (2) the potency or embodied ordering life force located within the fluids. The fluids of the body are the ground within which potency manifests and expresses ordering, protective and healing intentions. Potency steps-down via transmutation from the local ordering matrix into the fluids of the body in order to manifest as an embodied ordering force. The fluid body can be sensed 20 inches/50 centimeters around the physical body as an energetic field of interaction and interchange.
  • The fluid body is primordial in origin as all life depends on its presence, from the humblest single celled entity to the complex human form. Water is the basis of life and its liquid crystalline matrix, considered to be the “fourth phase” of water, has been found to absorb light photons, which is needed for life to thrive. W. G.  Sutherland described this as ‘liquid light’. The original research into the liquid crystalline nature of water was done by Dr. Mae Wan Ho, who found that water forms a unified liquid crystalline matrix throughout the body, which is essential for life. Her research can be found in “Living Rainbow H2O” Mae Wan Ho, World Scientific (2012). This has also been followed up by Gerald H. Pollack whose research can be found in “The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor” by Gerald H. Pollack, Ebner & Sons (2013) (see “Potency” and “Fluid tide”).
  • Physical body: denotes the cells, tissues and tissue structures of the physical body. When the holistic shift deepens, the physical body may be sensed to return to a holistic-fluid state, its cells and tissues suspended in the fluid body. This has the felt-quality of a return to the fluid-embryo state.


Unconditioned Winds of the Vital Forces: is the Tibetan term for the Long Tide. The Long Tide is totally stable and unconditioned in its nature, never manifests shock, and is not touched by the conditions it centers.

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