VA INTERVIEW about the phenomenological approach – EN


Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle interviews M.D., Embryologist, Jaap van der Wal (…)

How inspiring it was to study recently with pioneering M.D., Embryologist, Jaap van der Wal. His forward-thinking approach to the study of embryology is based on the brilliant work of Erich Blechschmidt, along with his own direct experience and research as a Phenomenologist.

As you will see in my video interview with Jaap, he proposes that science is addicted to “causality”…that science is “ponderable”……and, considering that we are body, mind and spirit…. that there must be something in us that is “non-ponderable”. He mentioned to us in the workshop that when he woke up that morning…he did not say, “hello, brain”. He also proposes that it is a mistake of neuroscience to focus so much on the brain and cognition….he points out that ”awareness is non-ponderable”. We are so much more than a “brain”….after all, only YOU can measure your consciousness.

What landed in me at a deeper level in this workshop with Jaap that was birthed in my studies with Emilie Conrad and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, is the inquiry of…the body is not a body…the body is movement. We begin our embryonic voyage in the womb, as we fold, spiraling in and out, cells migrating, growing organs and gesturing through our arms and legs…….and, incredibly, there is an intimate relationship between the first growth gestures and our later use of our arms and legs as we grow into adulthood. What is mind boggling is that our experience of forming and re-forming as an embryo in the womb is what is happening in our bodies as movement and healing potential till the day we die! We never lose the embryo within us. I agree with Jaap, that bridging our preoccupation with cadaver-based, objectifying, static anatomy with a first person knowledge, appreciation and awareness of our deep biointelligence is the pathway to truly being in our primary, gesturing, lived body, in relationship with gravity, ourselves, one another and our environment.