Close-up of potter turning a pot on a potter's wheel

Embodied Knowledge

Close-up of potter turning a pot on a potter's wheelThe movement from beginner to expert is when the knowledge of our subject matter becomes embodied. By this, I mean that you no longer look to a reference in order to perform your skill. The reference could be a book, a diagram or sentence you have memorized, or the image of your teacher.

When you find yourself coming up with new interpretations and innovative spontaneous techniques, you are embodying knowledge. In my practice of massage, I relied on images of my teachers for continued guidance in my practice for many years. I was hesitant to let go of those images, of their way of doing things, and allow myself to follow my own unique flow.

Then I met a teacher who insisted that embodied knowledge is the truly useful, meaningful knowledge. “After all,” she proposed, “if you don’t own what you know, then what do you know?”

From that point on, I dropped my memorized images and I stopped looking for answers in the academic records of my mind. I challenged myself to answer my own questions, to find my own expression. I let my inner wisdom guide my hands-on work.

I am inspired with every session. I keep learning from every person I work with, and clients are remarking on how much more beneficial my work has become.

Thanks to Khadro for opening the door.

About The Author

Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.


  • Janet

    Reply Reply March 18, 2012

    Ditto! thanks to you Cindy for validating this truth that i have held for quite some time! Much appreciate you!

  • Cindy Black

    Reply Reply March 18, 2012

    Hi Janet,
    Isn’t it interesting that we can hold knowledge within for so long, and then at some point we figure out to follow our own voice rather than find another outside reference for what we already know?

    As Lao Tzu reminds us:
    “One who seeks knowledge
    learns something new each day.
    One who seeks the Tao unlearns something new each day.”

  • Christina

    Reply Reply March 19, 2012

    Inspiring to read this excellent reminder

  • Karen Ball

    Reply Reply March 20, 2012

    Just read this, Cindy and love it. Your writing is so soothing and always makes me stop and reflect. Thank you so much for offering this blog.

    When I teach reflexology, I tell students that once they’ve learned the basic techniques, to develop their own style of offering the work. I’m not interested in putting out “Suzuki-style” reflexologists.

    • Cindy Black

      Reply Reply March 20, 2012

      Karen thanks for commenting – it is always so great to hear from you. Keep up your wonderful teaching!

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