Melting the Mind/Body Split

Or, more accurately, having a Rolfing session. I got to Philosophy Monk’s after a grueling day at the office. Usually I am quite happy-go-lucky about work, and quite purposeful about maintaining that perspective despite my corporate environment. But this week has kicked my butt for some reason. Maybe because I am sick, or maybe because the organization is going through some soul-searching (Ha! What corporation has a soul, you ask–but that’s a question for another day…), and strategy meetings, both scheduled and impromptu, are taking up my days. There is lots of emotion attached to all of these growing pains.

So anyhow, I drove through rush hour traffic with that splitting-headache/work-sucked-the-protective-coating-off-my-nerves feeling and got to Philosophy Monk’s office just in time for my appointment.

I’ve rarely seen Philosophy Monk out of zen robes, so it was a surprise to see him in the office in a Hawaiian shirt and flip flops. It struck me that he has a shaved head. Duh! Of course he does–he is a zen monk. But somehow it seemed really surprising in the “real” world, versus when I see him at the zendo. I guess it “means” something different at the zendo, since it’s a more usual practice there.

Okay, so just to get this out of the way: it is rather strange to be in your underwear when in the company of a monk from your zendo. In fact, it has the quality of one of those dreams you wake from and think, “What in the world did that mean?”

Philosophy Monk does “gentle” rolfing. None of that searing pain I’ve heard about. It was more like a cross between chiropractic and massage–no bone adjustments like in chiro, but more intense tissue manipulation than in massage. We talked about yoga a bit (he is literate in yoga schools and philosophies), and about zen. He asked about any physical problems I might have, and I said tight shoulders and neck, tight hamstrings, and then I laughed and said, “Mostly it’s all here,” and pointed to my head. He asked, “So you want me to Rolf your mind?” I had to laugh. It’s a pretty funny joke, from a zen perspective. There was a good bit of that kind of discussion as he worked–funny, insightful comments Roshi has made, etc.–so I guess we kinda behaved like zen geeks.

He worked alot on my head, neck, and hips, but concentrated most intensely on my shoulders. I can say quite honestly that I have little understanding of how this whole Rolfing thing might work. I asked if there was anything I needed to know, in order to understand (“to make it work,” I think I said), and he said no, that he’d prefer I wait and see if I feel anything different, rather than tell me what I might expect. Fair enough.

At the end, he did some energy stuff. Most interesting was when he had his hands around my head and we were just quiet. It was a rather strange feeling, like there was all this slowly turning fluid inside my head–I can only rather inadequately describe it as feeling as if my head and neck were a lava lamp, with that kind of slow, syrupy twisting/turning energy. Maybe Gregg knows more about this sort of thing, since it seemed a bit Reiki-like. But no matter what was happening there, I felt really calm and readjusted when I got up from the table–like my head had been cleaned on the inside.

It was fascinating–once I got past my own insatiable desire to know what’s going on and understand everything all the time. Sure, I felt clumsy and clueless in relation to subtle energy. But I’m figuring I might catch on a bit as we go. I have another two sessions booked over the next couple of weeks.

On the practice front, I am happy I made my sick and shaky way through practice yesterday, because I’ve made a promise to myself to at least take one day for ladies holiday. So today is a rest day. Which is handy, because I feel like crap. Already looking forward to tomorrow’s practice, though. So I have a day to get over this cold. Or rather, slightly less than a day.

What’s that? Impatient? Greedy? Surely you can’t mean me đŸ˜‰

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2 Responses

  1. How do you like that “rolfing” business? I guess I don’t really understand the fundamental purpose of it…just to subject yourself to pain and restructuring the tissue? I would rather run into a wall.

  2. We’ll see how it goes. I’m curious about Rolfing as a physical analogy to zen practice. Zen is good for dismantling the shell of self-identity that one tends to build and cling to, and I think Rolfing might be a means to explore the physical shell I’ve built.

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