I think I got something figured out when it comes to bodywork. Much of the success of a session hinges upon the therapist's ability to hold space, and upon the client's receptivity in allowing the therapist to fulfill that role. What I mean is: The more secure and stable I feel, literally, in a bodyworker's hands, the more inclined I will be to let go. And as we all know, there is no better feeling than letting go...falling into our inner world, cascading through stillness, arriving more in the vast, expansive center of our being.
The particular technique being used—whether that be reflexology, Swedish, Thai, or anything else from the cornucopia of modalities—is almost secondary to the more primary foundation of holding space effectively for the full duration of the appointment. I don't care if you're thumb-walking, doing cross-fiber friction, compressing the muscles, stretching limbs, or gliding in a stroke of pure effleurage—it's the native stillness behind the effort (or non-effort, shall we say) that will make the biggest difference.
Of course, depth and pressure are always a fickle thing in bodywork. There's such a wide range of preferences when it comes to what people want. Some clients want to be shredded and ripped into; others want the lightest of touch. So, in order to hold space effectively for you, yes, I have to line up with your preferred style of bodywork. But the question still remains: Can we access inner silence together, even amidst motion and movement?
Fortunately, the answer is yes. Both client and practitioner can be in touch with boundless, inner space, which is available both at the center and periphery.
Ironically, I think one of the best gifts I can give to a client is none other than my disappearance. I know this because I've been on both sides of the coin. When I'm a client, and the therapist is plugged into me, and then we both disappear and melt into a field of consciousness, I don't necessarily have to focus on their physical, or even energetic, touch. It's an option, but not a requirement that's being demanded of me. And that is freedom. The freedom to drift in and out of levels of consciousness...feeling safe and secure in the wandering.
At the same time, it's not advantageous for me as a therapist to be absent-minded or overly detached in the giving, because part of what conveys a secure feeling to the client is the sensation that I am staying aware of the surface details, so that they don't have to. Hence, holding space is really a deep, unspoken agreement based on trust and latitude. By establishing trust and familiarity, an increased latitude of consciousness is achieved.
Holding space is not a strain, but an equanimity, a poise, a balance. It is the bubble in the middle of the carpenter's level.
Practices like Deep Meditation cultivate the optimal condition for holding space across multiple platforms (personally, professionally, socially, and beyond).
Thank you for reading. Be still, and flow.