Massage as an act of Kindness



I was gently advised, regarding my remark about Jesus being my Teacher, that Jesus is not merely a Teacher, but that He is the Son of God. Yes, I heard that before. Someone sought to give us a picture of God by stating that He knows what’s beyond the heavens and the earths (yes, there are several of them) and the preservation of them tires Him not. Now, please, how do I track down such a Being to verify details of His offspring? Clearly He is Infinite. And here my use of He is finite, as it limits God to a certain gender, but I am using it because if facilitates this communication. One of the reasons He is called God is because He is perpetually elusive. Every time you think you’ve got Him figured, oop! you don’t. Look, my neighbours kept me up late one night because they were tracking down the Infinite using the name Shiva. They kept calling for Him over and over as if He is a hard-of-hearing child. They called softly, loudly, with chant, with music, they called and called. Then they were silent and I went to sleep. I sincerely hope that He actually came and that their silence was a show of reverence for His presence, and not because the service was over. Had He shown up, they would have been busy asking for prosperity in its various forms, not inquiring of His sons and daughters.

And that’s the case with Jesus and I. Whenever we get together, His presence is so overwhelming (some men have that effect) that I have never thought to ask whether He has parents or siblings. Never once has He behaved as if He has an identity crisis, so I would like to believe that both of His parents contributed to His development. Hence, to call him the Son of God is rather bias as that draws attention to His Father and leaves His Mother in the shadows. Given that the mother is the first teacher of a child, He could well be who He is today because of the contributions of His Mother. So, it is likely that He is the Son of Goddess. Anyway, life is personal. If Jesus is the Son of God to you, bless you. If He is a Teacher to me, I would hope that that is sufficient to incur some blessings too.

Years ago I was introduced to a woman who is very serious about her God. She is usually up by 4am each day to praise Him. She could be heard humming as she shuffles around the house and yard doing her chores. He became her everything after her husband left her with three children. It was He who inspired her to babysit for the neighbours at a small fee which aided her financial state. Her children showed their gratitude in many ways, and one was excelling at school. They all turned out to be adults she is proud of. Now, one week before her 79th birthday, her son called me to find out what is the most palatable way to cook Carili. I suggested stuffed carili (with well-seasoned chunks) cooked in coconut milk, then waited for his reason for asking. His mother was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer and he has been working with her to change her diet rather than shuttling her off to Chemotherapy. And the age old question came to mind: why is it that God’s children are made to suffer these ills? Questions, questions, questions. We ripe and ripe, then we rot and rot, and it seems to matter not what instigates our rotting, so long as we lay the body down and go home. There is the saying that we should not pray for a sick person, but rather ask them to pray for us. We are drawn closer to God during our sickness. There is greater intimacy and sincerity (partly) because of our uncertainly as to whether we will live to see another day. So just in case we don’t, our relationship with God is fortified in our bid to ensure that His arms embrace us when we slip from this life. During our sickness we do not pray once in the morning and once before bed at night. We pray all the time, constantly calling on Him to heal us, so that the communication (and by extension, relationship) between God and us is greatly improved.

We think of Cancer as terminal, but many have recovered. If, in this lady’s case, it is understood that this is the chosen means to send her home, then every good thing that is done for her will only ease the discomfort as she travels, and relieve all parties involved of any delusion. For those whose time is not yet, they bounce back for years. But healing has always come with its requirements. I’ve heard persons decry the religious activities at the Ganges River saying no healing can come of them because the river is filthy. Well, I guess they did not hear the story of Naman. Jordan River was just as filthy and he had to dip seven times into it to get his healing. Would that have been once for each of his seven bodies? Or was that to ensure that his big ego was totally submerged? One way or the other, the illogical process that healing sometimes require can fascinate or disgust us, but our Creator does not owe us an explanation for why we got ill or why we need a particular ritual for healing. What we are told is that all our questions will be answered on the other side of this experience. And we keep having trouble with that because death is the door that allows access to that other side. And one would think that given His creative abilities another way would have been made for us to get there, but He insists on death as the means of transition. So the wise among us have learnt to acquaint themselves with death. History records many who have had conversations with Death before being taken away. One client said he was there when his father passed away, and his father was able to tell him when Death entered the room. My great grandmother was at her husband’s side when he was passing, and he did the same, he told her when Death had arrived. Over their years together he did his part as the man and provided for her, so as he was being escorted, he said to her: The Lord is your Shepherd, you shall not want… He left her in good hands.

When we discussed the qualities of a good healer we had looked at the Therapist having courage to face his/her fears, and death was mentioned. It does not necessarily mean that the Therapist should thrust him/herself into situation where persons are dying, but the reality is that a client we are treating today may be gone sooner than later. Massage might not be contraindicated for whatever complaint they have, so they may show up on your table and you may sense distortions in their energy field that make you uncomfortable. Sure there is the consultation process that would provide you with relevant information, but people are people, they say only what they want you to know. Persons who are ‘travelling’ have a different feel. But we cannot deny them a bit of pampering. They are not gone yet, so we are obligated to treating them with due respect.

In our class last Saturday one student raised the issue of working with HIV/AIDS victims. She is fearful of being contaminated. We considered that working over bruises or broken skin generally could pose a threat, but otherwise, she should be safe. But usually, whether or not such conditions prevail, just knowing a person is infected becomes a personal contraindication. I have done massage for persons with HIV/AIDS for years. Some I knew about upfront, and others said nothing until things were beyond cover-up stage. I can’t say that I did it because I know where I am going when I die. The fact that Heaven isn’t necessarily up, nor Hell below (they are states of existence that defy our concepts of direction) is enough to save me from troubling myself about where I’ll end up. I simply choose to focus on the fact that another human being is lying on my massage table in need of help. So I give what I have, a sense of comfort through touch.

While it is that our work provides some degree of activity, validation, compensation, etc. for us, we are more than the work we do. So whatever qualities we have must not be limited to our work only, but be used to serve humanity as a whole. Let us remember that whether or not we agree with a person’s social status, religious affiliation, or their sense of morals, we have a duty to aid in alleviating suffering. When those among us are suffering, we can think of it as God giving us an opportunity to play God. It’s Him asking us: if you were God, what would you do? Mother Theresa had a suggestion:

“Be the living expression of God’s kindness [by showing]
Kindness in your face,
Kindness in your eyes,
Kindness in your smile,
Kindness in your warm touch,
Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”

I like to think of Massage Therapy as an act of kindness.