You have to consider that when I advise someone to try managing or coping with their stress with meditation my point of view is rather biased. I’m like a person who is totally into model railroading advising you about their beloved hobby. I know there is something great and wonderful about my trains but I’m not sure how to talk about it with just the right mix of detail and simplicity that will keep your eyes from glazing over or my chest from filling with pride like a poisonous blow fish. Often its better to answer specific question when a topic is very broad so if you have any questions please ask in the comment section.
Receiving shiatsu often can get you to a “feeling place” akin to still meditation (whether seated or standing) and one of the things I like to try to do is to get my clients to replicate those “feeling tones” and states, from our work together, on their own. If you already have experience with the goals and methods of meditation my particular emphasis then is on indicating ways in which you can shift the context and take greater advantage of your experience. Remember, most (religious) traditions of meditiation look down on meditating with mundane goals like coping with the world banking crisis or anxiety born from getting mobbed on social media. ‘If you’re not striving for enlightenment then we ain’t got nothin’ for ya.’ Its a delicate process to get people with this bias (me circa 1998) to see the more general usefulness of the skills they have acquired in yoga, with zen meditation or through prayer.
If you are someone that is on the other end of the spectrum then my job is to give you enough background and technique to allow you to apply them to the themes you have decided to focus on in our relationship as shiatsu giver and receiver. Month long teachings on the 37 practices of a bodhisattva just are not appropriate and in fact often extremely small snippets of advice and instructions can go a very long way for newcomers.
In addition I like my advice to stay kinesthetic in nature because, well, I’m a bodyworker, but also as Tom Meyers points out, (around the 25.12 mark) here in the West, we have an overwhelming amount of visual and auditory imput but increasingly small amounts of “felt” information for our brains. Its not just Gen X’ers bent over the latest and greatest S or i-phone series; shoulder- and buttock fascia slowly laminating into a hot mess who have seemed to have forgotten they live in a body. Even those of us who prefer sticks and stones as playthings, bemoan our loss of function as we age, rather than fight to preserve it; rather than go deeper into the body and the life of the body. Our personal goals become increasingly abstract, leaving little space for a cointinued striving for self-perfection through the vehicle of the body. I think this is partly due a lack of appreciation for the aging body and our culture’s facination with the kind of beauty only the young posesss. But what about the beauty of the aged? All that glitters truly is not gold.
Its important for you to take yourself seriously, to know within the continuum of your heart-mind that you can make improvements, that you can get to the bottom of your problem and that you can reach the end of the tunnel and bask in the light. I’m not encouraging you to harbor illusions. Have you examined yourself? Weigh your situation carefully and relax into that reality. Input from shiatsu therapy is like getting a second opinion on that physical, kinesthetic reality that you must then, in a consistent and responsible way, open to in your chosen methods of stress reduction and self knowledge. Don’t back down. Don’t succumb to your habit energy. I have confidence in you.