Naked and exposed I plug in my headphones and turn on the beautiful bliss that is Ludovico Einaudi. His brilliant compositions allowing me to tune out the world and tune into myself.
When beginning situations, meditations, experimentation with drugs, or really anything in life with intentions it allows the possibility of completely changing the whole experience. So I decide to set an intention for my massage, to make it into a meditation and create a space that would allow unconscious aspects of myself to surface.
I focus on my breath, but I also make my mind into a sort of screen, allowing observation of each ephemeral thought as it passes through my mind, and I give in.
“Erm, excuse me miss… miss… can you flip over?” says the masseuse. I open my eyes and blink. Hard. I had forgotten where I was for a second. It takes me a minute, but I realize that I am still at the spa. I flip over and place my hands over my eyes, firmly pressing down on them in order to bring myself back to the present moment. My meditation took me to another place, another level of consciousness that I have never experienced before. I focus back on my breath to calm myself down, the massage continues, and the resonances of Ludovico take me back again. To where that was, I am still somewhat unsure.
Tension defined the 60 minutes of my massage, and the distinct memory of it has continually replayed in my mind ever since. As the masseuse kneaded her hands into my back I could feel the presence of tightness more than ever. Her hands felt like they had the weight of the world in them and my back was the strongest and most impenetrable force pushing back. No matter how hard she pushed, my muscles would not release.
This tension is almost always present in my neck, back and shoulders. I usually chalk it off to not exercising or stretching enough. A stiffness that’s caused by my shitty posture and my large, and extremely inconvenient rack. However, the images moving across the screen (my mind) conveyed to me that the physical feeling that was manifesting as a stiffness in my back, neck and shoulders was merely a secondary aspect of what was going on.
The mind is a powerful tool, and as humans I think we give it too much credit. We allow it to constantly be at work, to analyze, define and dictate our lives. I am a huge culprit of this. This causes us to always be thinking of the past or the future, thus forgetting the most important thing for us to be aware of, the present.
Some deep and introspective reflection after my massage, has helped me to realize that I must relax. Slow down, and not think too deeply into things. Everything will happen the way it’s supposed to, and worrying about the future or the past will not make things any different. I must remain present.
Alan Watts transcribes this idea perfectly in his book, The Wisdom of Insecurity :
“The power of memories and expectations is such that for most human beings the past and the future are not as real, but more real than the present. The present cannot be lived happily unless the past has been “cleared up” and the future is bright with promise. There can be no doubt that the power to remember and predict, to make an ordered sequence out of the helter skelter chaos of disconnected moments is a wonderful development of sensitivity. In a way it is the achievement of the human brain, giving man the most extraordinary powers of survival and adaptation to life. But the way in which we generally use this power is apt to destroy all it’s advantages. For it is of little use to us to be able to remember and predict if it makes us unable to live fully in the present.”
I am still not completely aware of what my meditation was trying to reveal to me, however I think I am getting closer and closer to what I must know. For now, I am happy with the realization that I must be present. Everyone has, and could tell me this a million times. However, I needed to realize it for myself, to experience the overwhelming weight associated with not doing so in order to fully understand how truly important being present really is.