Back to Richard Burke: With such an experience or awareness at the forefront of one's consciousness, fear and doubt (and worry) begin to fade away, echoing the
observations of Maslow. Burke began to study characteristics of those who had also achieved such illumination, finding that many of them enjoyed solitude and
demonstrated little interest in material gain. People such as this also recognize others who have experienced similar heights, although they may find it difficult to put a
finger on the situation. (Just as we experience a hard-to-describe "double take" when we meet up with another person whose soul is highly developed.)

That said, let's set up the two psychological boundaries, the two polar opposites, for which a peak experience would lie somewhere in between. In discussing two of the obstacles toward experiencing what he called "flow" (a highly functional experience) the well-known Mihaly
Csikszentmihalyi of the University of Chicago sets up these bookends as anger and boredom. These two spaces are obstacles to peak performance, he says,
noting that anger/angst is related to self-centeredness while its opposite vice, alienation and boredom, is related to attentional disorders (where you can't keep your mind on one train of thought for very long).
Anger, he notes, is accompanied by muscular tension, while alienation
appears to coincide with the opposite response, which I would term the over-flaccidity of muscle groups (or in other words, the wet-noodle effect). So let me re-state the obvious: In this kata, the truth we're looking for lies somewhere between anger and not-giving-a-hoot (which may be a disguised form of anger, but then again I'm not a shrink).

Shades of Dobie Gillis

Frick & Frack

What's the difference between a top performer and a poseur, one who is just going through the motions? For the moment, let's say that the top performer has a fairly
well-defined notion of where she or he is going and/or the goal they want to
accomplish. (It's also been said that when one is fully in touch with a strong sense of
purpose they can accomplish anything.)  If we review some of the "success literature" that's out there, what are some recurring themes we see (keeping in mind that our
bottom-line purpose is to deliver a massage that works)?

1) 'Success schemes' that are meant to benefit primarily ourselves are doomed to eventual failure. Asking for the highest good of all concerned
allows our true purposes to surface. We just can't get real results with an attitude of only "what's in it for me." As a corollary to this, perhaps what we call success is
anything but until it benefits others as well. We're also seeing that as a personal
mind-set, self-centeredness just doesn't work. I'll leave it to you to envision all the ramifications of this.

Steady easel

2) Physical relaxation plays a key role in freeing up our creative energies. This helps release us from
negative, unconscious attitudes and reaction patterns. To get a clear picture of where we want to go, it works to relax the body
totally (Maxwell Maltz MD, Psycho-Cybernetics, 1960, a book that's been a pillar of the self-improvement field). To put it another way: if the easel is unsteady the artist can't
create an accurate portrait.

3) The path to success and accomplishment is a whole-body stance, not just a decision we make up in our heads. Said Maltz, when we perform a successful pattern of action, the entire action pattern - from beginning to end - is stored not only in what we call conscious memory, but in our very nerves and tissues. When we say, "I had a feeling in my bones I could do it," we are not far from wrong. To be effective in changing belief and behavior, rational thought must be
accompanied with deep feeling and desire. Our "decision for
success" might start in our psyche, but to work it must be
dispersed through the entire body. Note that one of the major functions of massage is to pull energy down from the head and distribute it more evenly through the body.

A giant among self-improvement books

4) We can't be too preoccupied with the results we want to achieve.
We must set the goal, then trust the space and be in the moment. When we're too
anxious for results, says Maltz, our "success mechanism" gets jammed up. The
Australian educator F.M. Alexander (creator of the renowned Alexander Technique) would call this anxiety "end gaining," which is a recipe for failure. We're too
preoccupied to pay attention to the details, to think on our feet and listen to what the space needs from us in order to complete itself. (The space often needs us to simply notice where the integrity is out. If integrity means 'wholeness,' then how can we
possibly have 'completion' without it?

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