I'm writing this post from a guest house in Chiang Mai, about to go to my fifth day of Thai Massage Training. (Side note: this picture is from a beautiful temple in Chiang Mai.)
Metta from First Touch On the first day of massage school, my teacher set the stage for Thai Massage by saying that our work is to cultivate metta (a Buddhist term for loving-kindness) from first touch. The most important moment of the whole massage is the first time we put our hands on the person -- in that moment we transfer love and positive, healing energy (by first centering and grounding ourselves).
What is Metta? From Wikipedia: Mettā is loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence, amity, friendship, good will, kindness, close mental union (on same mental wavelength), and active interest in others. This is love without clinging (upādāna).
And so I turn it back to all of us: How can we cultivate this in our own everyday "first touch" with strangers and friends? How can we look at each stranger on the street with loving kindness? How can we cultivate clear, loving energy so that we may pass it along to others with just one look, smile, hug, interaction? How can we make a habit of regularly clearing our own energy decks so that we can be a clean-burning fire in the world?
One of my favorite things about this trip so far has been interactions with complete strangers, where we can't share any language at all, but we can share a kind, loving, full-toothed-glory smile. I gave a watermelon smoothie that I decided not to drink to two street cobblers and we shared a giant beaming smile that made MY day.
Smile at a stranger tomorrow, and you'll feel your own heart smile generously in return.