Thursday, September 24, 2009

God at the Cellular Level

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and will save those whose spirits are crushed.
Psalm 34:18

It happens on occassion that as I work on a client's body, I am reminded of the awesome power of God as can be seen and experienced through the simple act of laying my hands on another. Such was the case the other day when I had what I would describe as a "Eureka!" moment during a bodywork session.

This particular client, like others I see during the course of a week, was having life "in abundance"; lots of stress, several out-of-town trips, and compassion, compassion, compassion. And her body was bearing all the signs of being physically and emotionally drained. I centered myself, sitting at her head, and allowed my mind to focus its attention and intention on having my hands meet her in support of the healing needed... whatever that may be.

I have had clients come to me in similar "abundant life" moments, and I never know what will come up for them as I'm working. And I try not to anticipate that anything will happen. Such thoughts, I find, muddy the waters of caring for the person.

But what did come up, as my hands stretched the fascia of her arm, was a sudden profound sense of God in the body. The contact I was making, the feeling of connective tissue becoming warmer and loosening and allowing the deltoids and bicep to lengthen brought to the forefront the thought of God residing and working at the cellular level. I had this vision of all of the cells in the muscles being infused with gifts from the creator, and that my hands were making contact with something holy as they moved toward each other, criss-crossing at the elbow and finishing with a static hold at the wrist and the top of the shoulder. These cellular mysteries unwrapped, this body was becoming more whole... and holy. I thought of the creation stories in Genesis, especially about the second one where man makes the human, Adam, out of clay and blowing on it gives us life. And as I watched my client's breath, I thought of how the breath is the visible and invisible connection we have to our creator. The deeper the breathing, the deeper the connection.

By the time the session was over, I felt as though I had just spent an extended stay in a monastary! The client, too, had felt something profound, and both of us came away from the table a little more enlightened, a little more connected.

My table is not an altar in the same way as you might see in a church, or set up for a pagan ceremony. But I see my massage table as an altar for healing, and restoration of the soul. And, like going to God's table for communion, the gift received when you come to this table is a gift from God for the people of God through the very simple act of non-threatening human contact.


Phoebe said...

Altars come in many shapes and sizes.. and God moves in mysterious ways.. making the divine presence known in unexpected, unplanned, places.. Sometimes even at fancy church altars.

Anonymous said...

I have felt so much relief after a Massage and I am sure that it is the strength and loving touch of the hands of the person doing this wonderful work.


frdougal said...

There is a very powerful passage on this in the autobiography of the well loved British religious broadcaster, Rabbi Lionel Blue. As a very, very mixed up undergraduate at Oxford (gay, Jewish, overweight and working class in the University where Evelyn Waugh's Bright Young Things had frolicked), he went into Reichian therapy and the 1st thing his therapist did was to massage him. It unlocked the gates. The book is called "Hitchhiking to Heaven" and is well worth a read.

SCG said...

Thanks, frdougal. I will put that on my "must-read" list! Sounds like the type of book I'd enjoy.

Peggins, I remember in massage school, the school's director "ordained" us in the priesthood of the phalanges--meaning that our fingers would serve a ministry.

Phoebe--absolutely correct on all counts! I always hope that God is present in "this bread and this wine".