Dharma Bums
This leads us to the Hindu concept of dharma, which can free tremendous amounts of mental energy and channel it into more productive uses.

One way of looking at dharma, which is reverent attendance to the duties in front of our face, is by asking ourselves, "What does the situation at hand require?" Said St. Francis de Sales: God requires a faithful fulfillment of the merest
trifle given us to do, rather than the most ardent aspiration to things to which we are not called.

There is power is applying ourselves to the required task of the moment, however mundane, but unfortunately few of us are ever taught this in school. But the message is clear: We need to slow down, to listen, because the lesson plan that life wants to offer is right in front of our face.

Searching for the meaning of life

Self Control / Ego
In order to listen to the callings of dharma, we need to check our ego at the coat rack and start to develop some self-control.

One of our main purposes at the massage table is to energize and enliven the body, and this can't be done by force, which is a form of ego in action. To assist the energy channels in coming alive, to help kick-start the free flow of ki, we need to display a disciplined non-assertion of our will.
Intention wins the gold medal here; brute force gets relegated to the bush leagues.

To quote the statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797): "Our patience will achieve more than force." On a note more specific to the art of massage, we'll go to Thomas
Hendrickson, author of
Massage for Orthopedic Conditions (2003): "Beneficial effects can be achieved with mere grams of pressure."

Remember, ki, like a pussycat, will rub up against your leg only when it's good and ready. Cats don't care a lick for our egos.

As in life, we tend to come on too fast and too strong. The intention is to generate a desire in ki to inhabit the body in a more distributed fashion. Our ego says we'll lead it, but ki hates ego. Ego drives out intuition.

Serenity can draw it out, not ego-driven willpower.

Even if ki doesn't have a mind of its own, we're gonna treat it that way.

Ki wants to be drawn out by a quiet self-confidence that's not arrogant.

We won't get overexcited when we start to make a little progress - we'll remain level headed. We don't pull hard on the fishing pole when we get a nibble.

Alpha vs. beta

The tortoise wins,
not the hare

We can't directly control ki, but we can control ourselves.

Ki can't walk away from integrity.

Ki has to trust us in order to reveal itself.


We will work slowly, methodically, insistently. From a university rowing coach: "To win this or any race, row slowly." Rapid rowing tends to break the stroke, and when the stroke is broken it is with the greatest difficulty that a crew recovers the rhythm necessary to win. Meanwhile other crews pass the disorganized group.

We won't try too hard to achieve results. Branch Rickey, the baseball executive
responsible for bringing Jackie Robinson into the majors, would bench any player he found guilty of "over-pressing." On the contrary, success in the major leagues
requires a flow of easy power through every action. The muscles must be flexible. Try to kill the ball and you'll slice it or miss it altogether, and this applies equally true in golf. (Thank you to Norman Vincent Peale for providing this example, and note that the problem of "killing the ball" is still very much alive in major league baseball today, not to mention the realm of human relationships.)

The first emperor of Rome

Said Augustus Caesar, "Make haste slowly." Said the
Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard: "Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it." Haste reveals not the depth of our feelings but the degree of our self-absorption.

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