Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Mindfulness and Massage


I love massage.

I always feel better after I have one. I always wonder after I have one why I've waited so long to have another one.

I've also found that practicing mindfulness during a massage is a good exercise.

What, you ask, is the problem with being mindful during a massage? You just lay there while someone rubs you.

Unfortunately, the mind loves to wonder. Instead of appreciating the massage therapist's skills and healing touching, instead of concentrating on the muscles she is rubbing, instead of feeling the tension leave your body, I find myself thinking about stuff I have to do. Or stuff I didn't do. Or what I might blog about. Or some case I'm working on in my law practice.

Buddhism teaches us to be present in every moment. It is hard work in everyday life. It is even hard when you are spread out on a massage table in your gym shorts, covered by a sheet, the lights are low, New Age music plays softly in the background, and someone's skilled hands are trying to make you feel better.

Massage, at least to me, reminds me about the difficulties of mindfulness, but also of the rewards.

When I am experiencing only the massage and no other distractions intrude, the experience of the massage is even better--which is saying a lot since even a non-mindful massage is pretty darn good!

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