Heirs to Still Being or Having?

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Heirs to Still Being or Having?

“For fear of tiring the reader and leaving him with the belief that there is no wisdom outside of my family; I will say that the river of intelligence is just as close to you and yours as it is to me and mine. Although by good fortune I dipped my cup first in the broad river of Osteopathy, drank and gave to them which fluid they relished as all intelligent persons do who drink from this river, the same stream flows for you." (Still, 1897, 379).

With these words, Still hands down a heritage: he invites us to draw from the same stream as he, and to carry this wisdom forward. So we become his heirs in being, much more than in having.

To me, this differentiation is key. Admittedly, to be an heir in having is a source of material wealth. However, this wealth is limited. To be an heir in being is a source of infinite wealth: “If you and I both have an object and we exchange these objects, then you and I will still each have one object. But, if you and I both have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”(Chinese Proverb found in Favre, 1994, 271 - English translation).

As far as having is concerned, Still left us very little. He constantly evokes the state of mind in which an osteopath must observe and must work. Yet he provides almost no technique. This seems to have been deliberate on his part: “I want to make it plain that there are many ways of adjusting bones. And when one operator does not use the same method as another, it does not show criminal ignorance on the part of either, but simply the getting of results in a different manner. [...] Every operator should use his own judgment and choose his own method of adjusting all bones of the body. It is not a matter of imitation and doing just as some successful operator does, but the bringing of the bone from the abnormal to the normal.” (Still, 1910, 23).

However, Still was very pronounced where being was concerned, and he developed the philosophical and spiritual aspects of the osteopathic approach to some depth. It is on this level that I feel heir to Still. I feel connected to the same stream: the source of being, of consciousness.


In the fourth edition of the Belgian journal entitled "Thinking", Jacques Andréva Duval speaks a little about Rollin Becker and his experience working with him. He shares a few quotes, including this one: “All cells have two things in common: 1/ a philosophy, 2/ a purpose. By virtue of their philosophy, cells are universal: they obey identical laws. By virtue of their purpose, they simply perform a specific action (liver cells, cells of the nervous system, etc.). And as osteopaths, we accept their specific action, but work with their universality.” (Duval, 1998, 5 - English Translation).