'The veins unfilled, our blood is cold, and then
We, put upon the morning, are unapt
To give or to forgive;
But when we have stuffed
These pipes and their conveyances of our blood
With wine and feeding, we have suppler souls.'
--  William Shakespeare,

Will the Bard

The ancient Gnostics had their own word, kenoma, to describe this space. It can be translated as "a sensible emptiness." Blaise Pascal, the French mathematician and philosopher who lived from 1623 to 1662, once described this state from another
angle: "All man's miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone."

Or let's take the view of
Wayne Dyer, author of numerous books in the field of
self-awareness, not to mention a fixture on PBS at fundraising time: "Highly
functioning people have an uncanny ability to shut out the past and future. They look you in the eye and you know you have their full attention." Highly functioning people, I would add, tend to be proactive in their outlook. At a minimum they're more
stimulating to be around. (Nor are highly functioning people always "nice." I loved a line I once heard from
Werner Erhard, a developer of personal improvement seminars: "Nice guys are interesting. For about 15 minutes.")

1600, asleep or awake

Reverend Rick Warren, author of the hugely successful Purpose-Driven Life (2002),
mirrors the view of Dyer when he tells us "What your family wants and needs most out of you is not your gifts but your
focused attention." Personally, I don't believe I'm
going overboard by suggesting that the
focused touch provided by a superior
massage can jump-start our capacity for such focused
outbound attention.

Nor do I consider this "sensible emptiness" to be the end-point. It's a mere point of
departure for effective action in our lives, spurred on by the self-expansion that a powerful massage can catalyze. One way to describe this starting point, I believe, is to steal a definition of what constitutes great literature, taken in this case from a
bombastic and annoying critic/professor from Yale named Harold Bloom (so
annoying that he occasionally makes solid points): "One test of genius is to ask
yourself, "However I've been entertained,
has my awareness been intensified, my
consciousness widened and clarified
?" If not, what is best and oldest within myself has not been activated."

Another way to test whether this starting point, this still-point, has been activated is to apply a simple criterion from
Dr. Phil McGraw: "If you don't wake up enthusiastic in the morning, that's a good sign you're out of touch (with your life's purpose)."

"It is astonishing how quickly
relief and sleep can be affected to seemingly sleepless patients. Time and again I have been called in the middle of the night by men of high standing and great mind. Indeed, during my practice in Washington, I
frequently had to shut off the light in the White House, telling the
officers at the door, as I left, that the President was asleep."
Hartvig Nissen,
Practical Massage
& Corrective Exercises (1923)

Common after-effect
of massage:
Sawing wood

A good night's sleep

"When relaxed, one no longer has to respond
automatically to negative beliefs."         
- Maxwell Maltz, author of the landmark Psycho-Cybernetics (1960)

"Your purpose may only occur to you
when your mind has been quieted."
   - Russell Conwell, Acres of Diamonds (1921)

"Without time for recovery, our lives become a blur of doing unbalanced by much opportunity for being."
- Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

"Until neuromuscular relaxation is achieved, the mind cannot rest."
- leading bodywork writer Leon Chaitow MD, Soft Tissue Manipulation

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