Art & philosophy of massage

If you look at the lives of those around us, you'll see a driving force behind nearly all of them: the constant and sometimes frantic search for a glimpse of meaning and purpose underneath all our surface activity. Now if you and I both stop for a moment and be honest with
ourselves, we see the same applies to us as well.
In nearly every moment we're awake, we're searching for that heightened experience of living, whether we're in the supermarket or the gym, the church or the
workplace. What are some ingredients of this 'heightened experience' we chase like a dog trying to catch up with his tail, and can massage play any role in nailing this experience down?


Ground Rules
First off, let's set up the ground rules for our search. To do so, we'll quote the great Thomas Edison: "Hell, there are no rules here -- we're trying to accomplish something."
There is one more ground rule we'll operate under, that of the church confessional. A massage room is a cocoon of safety where no conversation is allowed to leave. A masseur may not have the legal protections of a clergyman in this regard, but we'll still operate as if we do. 

Said Edison: 'Vision without execution is hallucination.'

I am not a shrink. I don't have the patience. But like the rest of us, I do know that most of us are worriers some of the time, and some of us are worriers most of the time. Without over-analyzing worry, let's go to some reputable sources to see what it does to us in our quest for self-fulfillment. It could well be one of our first blockage points.

According to the
Talmud, the authoritative body of
Jewish tradition: "Worry saps a man's strength."
(It certainly saps our focus.)

From the
Sermon on the Mount: "Which of you by
being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"

From Shakespeare's
Macbeth: "Present things are less than horrible imaginings."

Emotional Intelligence (1995) by Daniel Goleman: "A close analysis of chronic worry suggests that it has all the attributes of a low-grade emotional hijacking."

Here's our straightforward game plan for dealing with worry, taken from the renowned surgeon/professor Hans Selye whose 'Stress of Life' (1956) is considered a
classic in the field of medicine:
"We can't talk or
rationalize worry away. We must
displace it with something else, something positive."

By Professor Hans Selye

An all-time classic, discussed in the online video

Whether delivering a massage or teaching someone else the craft, we're not so much imparting a paint-by-numbers set of rules for someone else to follow. We're setting up a structure, a framework, a paradigm, a scaffolding, a kata that's been known to deliver results in the past. Within this framework, the student (or the person on the massage table) can take full responsibility for their own development and success.
As has been said in business, one of the great challenges in training salespeople - and perhaps in all education - is to provide an effective
framework of techniques, theories, methods and knowledge without stifling the creativity of those who learn. Fortunately, American higher education has been moving in this same philosophical direction.

Paradigm: A model within which a process occurs.

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