This post was originally guest published on “Anne’s Therapeutic Massage” in March 2015, recounting a conversation with my CMT following a regular weekly massage session. It is all about the experience of giving and receiving…
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Anne’s Therapeutic Massage has been a great benefit to me for a number of years as I deal with a diagnosed autoimmune disorder that at times causes activity-limiting back and neck pain. For me, the weekly massage is a deeply meditative time. After a brief check-in about particular muscles, aches, or areas that need attention, I trust Anne’s skill to find what really needs the most work, and that responds to her touch. Then as Anne is giving the massage, I quiet my mind and become absorbed in the experience.
Have you ever noticed how your mind is constantly narrating? It’s a never-ending chatter. Thoughts arise one after another, completely unbidden. Often in words, but also in images, evoking both our likes and dislikes, critiquing and judging, approving or not approving, planning, thinking, remembering, sorting, cataloguing, imagining fears or good feelings — the whole spectrum. This is what the mind does.
Meditation is a way of regularly regaining control over that chatter.
As stillness spreads, the train of thoughts can slow, and words drop away. You are no longer thinking about the massage or much else. You are absorbed in the experience without needing to describe or narrate the experience to yourself.
Anne is giving massage, I am receiving massage, and these are two parts of one experience.
There is no giver without a receiver. Likewise there is no receiver without a giver. At the point of touch, giving and receiving are simply one thing. Giver is touching receiver; and receiver is touching giver. Both are happening in one experience. Quieting the mind is a way to become deeply absorbed for a time in the one experience. In that quietness of mind, the singular experience becomes a wordless center of focus, and a sense of well-being spreads out from that center.
Breathing helps. Regular breath, slow in, filling the lungs, relaxed out, gently exhaling. Focusing on breathing is one of the simplest ways to quiet that scattered mess of thoughts in your head and begin to dissolve into the experience.
Often as I am focusing on breathing, I can observe that Anne is also in a kind of wordless meditative state. She is quietly reading my body. Her hands seek out the muscle tensions, the trigger points, the tender spots that need deep massage. Giving and receiving. Both our breathing may at times become synchronous — one thing happening.
ONE UNIVERSE GIVING AND RECEIVING
Ultimately, our world, the entire universe actually, is one experience happening. We have used words to slice and dice this one thing into an infinite variety of dualities or opposites. Like giving and receiving. Letting these artificial boundaries fall away and enjoying massage as part of a much larger singular experience of conscious living awareness is awesome, and delightful. I hope these words can lead you to experience the giving and receiving of massage in a new way.