I now have first-hand evidence of two Buddhist principles: that nothing stays the same (impermanence) and that happiness resides deep within even the most troubled mind and body (Buddha nature). Mighty big words coming from a skeptic, but I witnessed something extraordinary yesterday.
Seeking to alleviate the aches and pains from my recent traffic accident, I went to see a massage therapist specializing in myofascial release. From what I remember, the treatment involved a gentle rocking of my body on the massage table, careful touching of certain points, and prolonged cradling of neck and head–all without the strokes or pressure so often associated with a “good” massage. Throughout, the therapist reminded me to breathe deeply and turn my attention to the body.
Within a short time my sensory awareness had moved to parts that in extreme pain: neck, upper back, lower arm, knees, and so forth; parts traumatized by my flight over the handlebar, the unceremonious landing on the pavement, and having a car drive over my lower arm.
Continuing to be held by the therapist and noting somatic sensations, I noticed a gradual release of pain accompanied by tears … followed by a shift into a blissful state as if floating on an air mattress on an endless pool of water, with no sensation of pain, discomfort, trauma, or sadness. I remember saying out loud that my body felt like that Salvatore Dali painting where a clock hangs over a table’s edge, elastic and seemingly formless. Sensations expanded to where the confines of this body dissolved: no bones, no muscles, no nerves, no skin–no ME. I felt as if me had become part of everything: no separation, no this and that, no life or death. All this took place over the span of 15 to 20 minutes.