Author of ‘Touch of Awareness: an exploration into intuitive shiatsu’
Allowing intuition into the shiatsu session is a profoundly spiritual experience.
When I use the word spiritual, I use it in the context of our connection to something that goes beyond the boundary of our physical body, beyond the ‘small’ self, into a state where we experience ourselves as the infinite beings we are.
Intuition in shiatsu is closely connected to the rhythm between giver & receiver. The pulse that flows between all beings can be felt as a rhythm and it is this rhythm that we are looking to feel as we open to our shiatsu partner.
The rhythm of shiatsu is most often slower than the pace of the thinking mind, and feeling it requires us to sink into a deeper place, to leave behind our ordinary waking state and allow our connection to a greater being rise to consciousness.
I have found that feeling the rhythm of the session is the ingredient that precipitates the arrival of intuitive knowing. When we lose ourselves in the dance, leaving theory and thoughts behind, we open ourselves to a direct knowing that has the capacity to guide our hands in the most precisely effective manner possible. The first step is to feel the rhythm.
When the shiatsu session begins and we lay a hand on our partner, we adjust our internal state to listen beyond the physical self. In effect we expand our sense of self to include our partner (Wa Ai). As this happens we use a wider or softer focus that allows us to feel the rhythm in the session. With this feeling there is a loss of the sense of self as a separate being. It is a meditative experience as we open to our shiatsu partner in a feeling way. As in formal meditation practice we are endeavouring to exclude the thinking mind, to maintain this state of mind is no small thing and it is here once again that the felt rhythm guides us.
As we notice a change in the rhythm of a session, it is a flag to check where the
mind is at. Most often losing the rhythm is an indication our mind has either left the scene (we are thinking), or it is up to some planning in an effort to assert some authority on what is happening in the session (we are thinking). When we notice this, and bring our attention back to the present, as we pick up the rhythm of the session once more, we will notice that the treatment slows, that there is a softening in our own being. Focusing in this way in the shiatsu session is in effect meditation, but it is a meditation that includes our partner. The mind needs to be relaxed and alert, supple enough to move, yet solid enough to stay with the object of our focus.
When these qualities are present in Shiatsu there is a natural fluidity and grace in the outcome that allows deep relaxation in our partner. The session unfolds with continuity in a seamless blend, taking both giver and receiver into a state of consciousness beyond the ordinary waking state, and into a zone that is between wake, and sleep.
This delicate state of being is rarely experienced without long training in a discipline that encourages this part of us. In effect, shiatsu is facilitating a state that the body requires for deep healing in a way that shortcuts the long commitment to practice for the client. We are taking our partner on a journey to a place where they can experience their truth and heal long held wounds. As for the practitioner, when Shiatsu is offered in this way we become energised rather than depleted. The giving of Shiatsu fills our cup and there is a natural outflow to those around us. These principles are a practice that we can carry well beyond the Shiatsu mat, and which can inform every facet of our life. The distinction between giver and receiver on the Shiatsu mat is an indistinct line, and so too, off the mat. When we take these principles into other aspects of our life we begin to feel our connection with the world around us. The distinction between self and other becomes increasingly difficult to observe.