Altering Boundaries of Consciousness
A couple days ago, I was helping my mom clean out the attic. The space was stuffed with memorabilia. In one of the boxes, I came upon a baseball jersey with my name on the back. The shirt was from my Bayshore Little League days over on Davis Island, where I pitched and played shortstop. I pulled out the jersey from the tightly sealed plastic bag and put on the garment. Obviously, it barely fit, but I nevertheless managed to squeeze into it.
A little swell of sentimentality came brimming up, and I said to myself: Let's bring back the magic. Little League baseball was surely a magical time, and I'm sure everyone has memories from childhood that linger with a certain kind of purity and innocence. On the flip side, I know we all have memories that are not so picturesque or poignant. The reason I'm writing about my joyful recollection is because I want to pay homage to the past, and also to the future, and to talk about how those elements of time relate to bodywork, reflexology, and AYP.
One of the trendier fashions in spirituality these days is to harp upon staying in the the present moment. With the rise in popularity of philosophies like mindfulness, there seems to be an obsession with keeping one's awareness fixed upon the immediate circumstances of the physical environment. Don't let your mind drift into the past or future, or lose touch with the breath or body! This emphatic plea to stay in the present moment is understandable, because after all, the present moment is what bridges the past with the future. The present is the fulcrum upon which we seesaw.
But, can you even identify or capture the present moment? Contemplate that. If we tracked the present moment with a clock, we could associate the ticking of the second hand with the passing of each moment, but that unit is just a construct that we superimpose onto the present moment, for purposes of convenience and functionality. The present moment seems to be moving, along with the rotation of the Earth, and in tune with many other phenomena. Yet, there is some quality of stillness in the present moment as well. It's as if the eternal moment of Here and Now is holding and embracing all the changes that flow through our perception, but the eternal bosom of Here and Now itself remains unchanged. Alas, we have a paradox. The present is both moving and not moving, changing and not changing.
I don't mean to indulge much in abstract thought, but these principles actually have very practical implications. Let me explain.
One of the wonderful things I get to witness with my reflexology clients is the transformation of consciousness that occurs both during and after the session. A classic example of this transformation is a change in breathing patterns that happens once the client is lying on the table. There is a subtle, yet audible, shift that can unfold, often in a matter of minutes. The "walking" method of reflexology creates a very soothing rhythm that the nervous system quickly absorbs, thereby inducing a state of deep relaxation. Clients often describe this condition as being nestled in between waking and sleep. This state of consciousness is very similar to what occurs during Deep Meditation of AYP. Other favorable symptoms include gurgling of the stomach, muscle twitches, and facial itching.
Now, bringing this discussion full circle, and going back to the trendy mandate to stay in the moment...imagine if I were to try to keep a client's focus solely on the physical sensations I was creating with my hands. That would be an incredibly invasive and restrictive style of reflexology. Instead, my style is one of allowance. I want to fully surrender to the prerogative of the client, and that means letting their awareness drift into whatever state of consciousness they're naturally falling towards. That could be a transcendental state. That could be a place filled with memories, or a vision of the future. Or maybe their attention will stick to the physical and energetic sensations for most of the time. It's all acceptable, and it all crosses the spectrum of past, present, and future.
However, as a therapist, it is indeed important for me to stay in the present as I am palpating and carefully listening to their body—making sure I don't drift into la la land. So, surely, there is a necessity and even urgency to stay focused in the present moment, but that depends entirely on what role we're playing at any given time. I'm merely giving credence to the flexibility that is needed in regards to the boundaries of consciousness, especially for the sake of the client.
Thank you for reading. Be still, and flow.