First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

Portland, Oregon's Cancer Survivorship and Bodywork Zine by Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

The four C’s of consciousness

Simon Lewis is part of the implantable generation. He was in an auto accident, losing his newly wed wife in the tragedy. He had a massive stroke and entered a stage three coma on the Glasgow scale for a month. That’s as deep as the human being goes, teetering on the raggedy precipice of death. In the 80’s, he also produced the mega-hit movie, Look Who’s Talking. Bygones.

“The brain is the first fully functional quantum computer. It can occupy multiple states at the same time.” -Simon Lewis

During his time in the coma he was experiencing an inner consciousness, where all was connected. He had the experience of feeling everything. Everything all at once.

His long-term recovery has been quite remarkable, partnering with the bleeding edge of the medical field. Through some amazing micro stimulant technology, he is able to walk. They are developing tiny, implantable devices with an 80 year power supply so they remain in the body, that returns the function of movement and touch to the body and brain. It works.

Traumatic brain injury effects not just the individual, but the entire family. The medical field kicks people out of the system at a very early stage of function and cognition.

“There is no long-term concept in the health-care system. Neurological damage, ten years of rehab, requires a long term perspective.” -Simon Lewis

At the time of his release from the hospital, his eyes were dull, his gaze downcast. Through the years, his medical team sought ways to bridge the gap between the lower functioning actual mind and the higher-functioning potential mind. To awaken the mind of consciousness. They did. And, it’s repeatable.

A portrait is all about the eyes. Photography by Hamid Shibata Bennett

There is something about our connection through the eyes that expresses so much about our state of consciousness. In this noisy world, there is a retreat from eye contact, as flicking, handheld devices dominate our attentions.

“We’re talking about a society that is retreating into depression and disassociation when we are potentially confronting the next great catastrophic climate shift.” -Simon Lewis

As a photographer, I study catchlights. The subject of most portraits are the eyes. Doesn’t matter what else is in the composition. A portrait is all about the light in the eyes, about a connection of consciousness.

From Simon Lewis’ Ted Talks, here are the four C’s of consciousness

Cognitive training

“The plasticity of the brain means there is always a possibility, with treatment, to train the brain so you can regain and raise your level of awareness and consciousness. Plasticity means that there is always hope for our reason. Hope for our ability to rebuild that function.” -Simon Lewis

I am fascinated by neuroplasticity. No matter the time in life, we can rewire and strengthen our brain.

Craniomandibular alignment

“Ninety percent of head and neck pain is through musculoskeletal imbalance. The craniomandibular system is critical to that. This effects the entire body.” -Simon Lewis

How can the jaw affect the entire body? Simon provides a wonderful example. Say, you were walking down the road and there’s a grain of sand between your teeth. How far down the road will you get before that grain of sand needs to be washed out? Small deviations in craniomandibular function affect us that much.

So, bodyworkers, get to know the jaw. Get comfy with working the cranium. There’s a whole lotta folks we can help, regaining ease in craniomandibular function.


“Imagine your body as one sealed-system. There’s a big pipe with blood flowing through it and around the pipe are the nerves, drawing their nutrient supply from the blood… If you press on a hose pipe in a sealed system, it bulges someplace else. If that someplace else that bulges is inside the biggest nerve in your body, your brain, you get a vascular migraine. This is a level of pain only known to sufferers of vascular migraines.” -Simon Lewis

In Simon’s Ted Talk, he showed a volumetric MRI of thoracic outlet syndrome. As the muskuloskeletal structure changes positioning, it will effect the volume of the thoracic outlet, the volume of flow of blood, oxygen, lymph and nervous system activity. They helped Simon with a surgery, removing a section of rib. However, bodywork provides a far less invasive way of affecting the thoracic outlet. By engaging the myofascial architecture, we change the functional relationships of the bones that may be pressing on that sealed system. Open up physiologically efficient breathing mechanics and everything else follows.

Press on a hose pipe in a sealed system…. Graphic from Pocket Body on the iPad.


“Consciousness, all consciousness, is about communication.” -Simon Lewis

I’ve said it before…. Bodywork is a form of communication. A kinesthetic dialogue. But, we can also guide our clients with verbal cues, guiding them to the realization of their own proprioceptive awareness. One’s sense of kinesthesia isn’t dictated by an outside source. Rather, it can be developed through a guided self-discovery. What do you feel here? Does it increase or decrease when I do this? I felt a change here, did you feel that too? Can you describe the sensation?

So, next time you give a massage, watch how it reaches consciousness. Our clients often walk in the door, rushed, harried, in pain. What changes take place in their consciousness through the course of a session? Explore and find!

As Simon says… We can all rise and shine. Recovery from multi-complex injury and illness can take years. And, we have little to nothing in place within our current healthcare system to support one another in the long-term. And, there’s the Stumptown challenge! Let’s not just talk about it… Let’s build the healing arts community we wish to see! What would it look like? Share your thoughts and leave a reply!

Hamid 🙂

Music bonus!

The other day, I had a great chiropractic session with the wonderful Shannon Livingston, DC at Awakenings Wellness Center in SE Portland, Oregon. I got home and plunked out a quick improv. This was recorded on the iPad 2 with Multitrack DAW. Dr. Livingston, big props for opening up so much breath! Groove is in the heart!

To schedule a chiropractic appointment with Shannon Livingston, DC, give her a call at 503-250-2280

The tune is called Presume. Dig it!

17 comments on “The four C’s of consciousness

  1. MapMaker Mike
    January 14, 2012

    Cool blog man. Enjoy reading good stuff like this. Keep it up!

  2. Melody
    January 15, 2012

    Thanks for this, “how does bodywork effect consciousness”… important question. Key to people being empowered self-healers or dependents on their providers

  3. Jessica Battin
    January 15, 2012

    “Lets build the healing arts community we wish to see” – yes!
    Jan 28th, lets come together with other health care professionals and discuss making all forms of care accessible within our city.
    google group-
    great piece hamid 🙂

    • Thanks Jess! I have clients on the 28th already. Can’t find any times listed. I’m quite open to the discussion.

      • Jessica Battin
        January 15, 2012

        it’s 11am-4pm…. 4867 NE MLK. no worries if you can’t make it. I’ll let you know what I learn. I’m excited that there are doctors, dentists, and all kinds of alternative med practitioners that are going to come together for this refocusing. I think good things will come….

  4. Mandi
    January 15, 2012

    Slight correction: He produced Look Who’s Talking…not directed….that was Amy Heckerling

  5. hansmassage
    January 16, 2012

    Craniomandibular alignment

    “Ninety percent of head and neck pain is through musculoskeletal imbalance. The craniomandibular system is critical to that. This effects the entire body.” -Simon Lewis

    Following up on my application of Tom Myers ‘Anatomy Trains’ the deep front line directly connects the jaw with the pelvis. The weight of the internal organs hang in this matrix and are transferred to the feet on the same side. In contrast the walking reflex transfers weight to the opposite foot. This seems to explain the difference between reflexology charts and my reflexposturology charting.

    • Hans…. yeah, man… jaw to feet…. you bet those tensional lines can be followed. Walking reflex transfers weight…. whew.. what a complicated mechanism to achieve that with any amount of grace!

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Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Hamid Shibata Bennett, LMT, CAMT (OBMT #301)
Advanced massage therapy and bodywork
3810 SE Belmont ST
Portland, Oregon 97214

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