Today, I had the pleasure of working with a mother and her daughter, on this day before mother’s day, with a colleague of mine at Esalen’s Carmel office. I noticed they had a bit of a southwestern accent as they spoke, and as we talked, they told me they were on vacation from Dallas, Texas. They were with a very unassuming gentleman who, as it turned out, had spent time on the California coast throughout his adult life. Interestingly, I made a number of assumptions about who they were without knowing them at all, like:

-He works in the oil industry
-Receiving massage is a part of “the California experience”
-They probably feel like they’ve landed on a strange planet
-They are most likely very conservative, etc.

After I finished my work, I had a moment to sit and chat with this gentleman, who revealed that his trip had a deeper purpose: To sit in Ed Ricketts’ laboratory in what is now Cannery Row in Monterey, because of his deep admiration for his holistic approach to science. He then told me that as a physicist, he understood the science behind the interconnectedness of all elements composing our universe. He also discussed his deep admiration for empirical scientists like Ricketts, who well before modern physics had proven that all things are interconnected, intuited this fact and was able to study the ocean’s ecosystems from this perspective. He cited poet Robinson Jeffers, and writer John Steinbeck as artist-philosophers grasping the same intuition as Ricketts. He then said how much it meant to him to simply be on the same piece of earth, Carmel, California, that had meant so much to these men he held in such high esteem.

At this point, I was completely mind-blown by the depth and breadth of knowledge of this unassuming person. I was also hoping our massages had been good enough to keep our clients asleep for 5-10 minutes, so that I could pick the brain of this very brilliant man. This is where it got very interesting! About thirty years ago, I made a trip to Brasil to visit healers getting extraordinary results via means not explicable through the physics that Isaac Newton described, nor through any science that I was familiar with. I became interested, as a bodyworker, in what explanations of reality might be behind the procedures I witnessed, and the results which I observed. I was introduced to the ideas of Quantum-Relativistic physics, which describe a universe containing interconnectedness as a fundamental feature. Mind, furthermore, is interconnected with, not separate from, matter and energy. On the basis of this knowledge, I began to ask myself the following questions:

-If everything that exists within this universe is interconnected, from the gross (matter and energy) to the subtle (processes of mind), can an intelligent being learn to focus mind in such a way that focused interactions of mind, matter, and energy become possible?

-Might something like that be what I was witnessing in the hands of the healers in Brasil?

-As a professional bodyworker, how does my inner state influence the quality of my work, and are the remarkable results I have witnessed in the sessions of master bodyworkers (Milton Traeger comes to mind) a result of their ability to focus mind in such a way that matter and energy respond in a self-organizing manner?

As a teacher of bodywork, these questions are of crucial importance in regard to how we train our students. Far too many schools emphasize a mechanical approach only to massage technique, which leaves little room for developing our students’ grasp of the intuitive side of this work. Since quantum theory demonstrates mathematically that everything within the boundaries of our universe, whether it be mind, matter, or energy, is interconnected, shouldn’t our methods for educating people about the nature of touch reflect that deeper reality? I will leave you to ponder that question, and apply it also to your work with clients in your private practices. Where do mechanical and intuitive approaches blend, and support each other in elevating the quality of our client’s lives? What is the role of training the mind through self reflective and meditative practices such that the interconnected fabric of this universe actually becomes palpable to us as we touch? Is it possible to develop that capacity, and is it then possible to teach?

In part two, I will recall more of my discussion with my physicist friend as I posed these questions to him.I will also discuss how some physicists view the universe itself as an intelligent, ever learning, evolving, and literally living process.
All the best to everyone!