Meditation is simply any mind-based practice. During a meditation, one focuses the mind rather than allowing it to follow it’s usual chattering. Focus itself isn’t a mythic power: a burglar needs incredible focus in order to steal, an Olympic athlete needs incredible focus to jump the hurdle. But focusing the mind means that the activity that you are performing becomes your whole being: nothing else exists. Everything is flowing and operating in one direction. This is the meditative mind that we are talking about.
When we start a Thai Massage, we always start with a prayer (wai-khru). Traditionally this is given to Dr Shivago, although some may choose a different teacher, or perhaps will use the time to centre themselves and focus. This prayer is the beginning of the meditative practice. It’s purpose: to set your intention, and align your focus to make sure the direction we are setting off in is correct. To ask that we will be protected, and that the true medicine in the universe will bring health and wellness to our client.
During this time, we are emptying our mind of our personal clutter. All day, every day, we see the world through our own filters, everything we see is coloured by our desires: what we want looks more delectable, what we despise looks more disgusting. We see nothing as it truly is, only as we believe it to be: and that includes our client. If we want to aid them in any way, we must be really careful not to transfer on to them our own feelings, our own issues. Emptying our mind gives us space to be with our client without our projections. To feel them, sensing with our hearts, rather than our minds. To feel what is there without our judgements blinding us.
And from here we can start to flow into our massage.
Our massage too, is a moving meditation. We have many techniques, but when we are truly “in the flow” we may not know what we are doing, it just feels right. We are acting and reacting, we are touching and we are being touched at the same time. At every instant, everything changes, and everything has the potential for change. Nothing is fixed, everything is impermanent.
This can induce a sense of liminality. The root of this word comes from “threshold”, and liminality is used refer to in-between situations and conditions. Liminal Time itself represents a moment in which time stops passing. The actual definition is a moment “outside of time”.
It is common during a massage to have lost a sense of time and place: to be in a dream-like state, but not sleeping; to feel the touch of the therapist, and yet to feel that you are somewhere else entirely. In the midst of all the movement, you feel quite still. This space is the key to healing: in this place there is space for the brain to sort through and de-clutter, and for healing to take place on a cellular level. Here we are in touch with a different level of consciousness: the subconscious – which is more suited to solving complex problems. Thus when the massage is over, you may feel “changed” and in a way you are.
There are many types of meditation, and Thai massage can an avenue to enter into this state – for both the giver and receiver. Free your mind and the rest will follow.