Sagarpriya talks about how she developed Psychic Massage, the first of the methods she has created
Her previous articles published in Osho News, The Survival Fear and Inner Male, Inner Female Experiments were more slanted towards Star Sapphire because it is the more recent method she has devised, yet the older method, Psychic Massage, is also amazingly effective. Here’s the story of how this wonderful technique came into being.
Psychic Massage, as it is known today, was developed in three stages actually quite distant from each other in time. After each stage, I thought the story was finished, in the sense that the method included my entire experience up to that point, but of course there is always more to be experienced. So I keep coming back to this method with a new interest in the depths that it is able to touch in myself and others.
1: Combining massage and psychic reading
I take you back to 1968 – the year of the Flower Children in San Francisco, hippies trying to find a new take on life. I had just graduated from university in philosophy and was more ’straight’ than ’hip’. But the mysterious ways of existence led me to California that year, and a year later I started working at the first growth center in America, the Esalen Institute, in a beautiful mountainous area next to the sea called Big Sur.
I was young, only 23 years old, so I happily cleaned guest rooms and made beds in the beginning, but within a few months someone saw that I had talent in massage and introduced me to the head of the massage team. He gave me a massage as a sample of what he wanted me to do, and when it was finished, he said, “You start tomorrow.” The next day, because the rest of the team was away on vacation, I gave four massages (booked)!
Those four were followed by many others, of course. I worked in open air, at the edge of a cliff with the ocean just below. The client was getting a sunbath and a massage at the same time, and everybody was naked including me. We were not visible to the public, because the place was a hot springs bathhouse, where after the massage the client could jump into an individual bathtub to remove the oil, then plunge into a giant bathtub to enjoy company…. And so could I.
They were beautiful times. I learned to meditate, and that increased my appreciation for the rhythm of the sea waves, which was always in the background during the massage. Within six months I started teaching meditation and massage to any group that was scheduled for an afternoon of relaxation at the baths. Within a year, I took the administrative job of my previous ’teacher’ when he moved away from Esalen, and became head of the massage crew.
Around that time, I heard about a psychic woman who lived in Sacramento, California, and went to see her for a session. Before that, I didn’t have the slightest idea of what the word ‘psychic’ meant. But she gave me a reading that was absolutely exquisite, and the scattered, inexplicable pieces of my life fell into place as if ‘the penny dropped’. Among other things, she said, “You have been a healer before, and you can read the body just like I do. In this life you’re going to develop a method of working with people that combines massage with psychic reading. You didn’t use your capacity up to now for three reasons, and once you reconsider why you closed it, it will open up again.”
And things happened as she predicted. Eventually I moved out of the bathhouse to give my sessions in another part of the campus. I called the work Massage Therapy, and when I was ready I gave a demonstration to the Esalen staff. It was an absolute disaster, because I hadn’t yet learned that I should choose the client. The man who volunteered to receive my demonstration was a therapist of high repute but completely closed – I could not read anything in his body. But despite this setback, I was not deterred.
While still living near Esalen, I wrote my first book, Psychic Massage, which was well received in America at that time. I was 27 years old.
2: Presence ignites presence
Four years passed. I was by now a sannyasin, sitting for the first time in the daily discourses with Osho in India. I noticed a remarkable phenomenon. Usually when someone is speaking and someone is listening, there is a kind of energy bond between the two, a kind of linear connection linking the speaker and the listener. This didn’t happen with Osho – there was nothing external between him and me. Instead, I started to feel something inside myself swelling, like a seed which is absorbing water, or like a cloud that is gathering moisture and becoming bigger.
When I entered the meditation hall, I would feel happy to be there. But this “swelling” that happened slowly as his discourse progressed could not be described as happiness, but more like intrinsic satisfaction. Happiness was pale by comparison. If by chance the person producing happiness should go away, you would be left empty. But if there is satisfaction arising on the inside of yourself, it doesn’t go away when the other departs. It is your own.
In those days, Osho was speaking in English for one month, and then in Hindi for the next month, alternatively. I didn’t want to miss a single discourse. I went every day to the Hindi ones, because I found that you could more easily feel this inner expansion if you didn’t understand the words. I felt nourished, I felt plenitude, I felt much bigger than the body, I felt blissful. What more could one ask?
I realized right away that Osho was not trying to reach anyone’s mind, not trying to persuade anyone with his reasoning or concepts, but rather he was sharing his being while speaking. And my being was responding. Presence ignites presence. And I knew that this was the key to giving groups and sessions in the future. Even though I wasn’t giving Psychic Massages at that time, I knew that it would change the whole nature of my work.
It took many years to prepare myself, to prepare my own being. Regarding Psychic Massage, I had been so accustomed to the notion of giving something to the client, so loyal to the idea of progress, that I had to relearn the ability to just be present, to not need to go anywhere because presence is always here and now – and only here and now. It is effortless.
While Osho asked me to lead groups in Pune I (1977-1981), he never asked me to give sessions. Then during the Ranch period (1981-1985) I worked in many other jobs besides the Multiversity, our therapy department. I tried to set up a Psychic Massage Training at the Ranch, just so that we would have a new offer for the visitors, but my co-leader was removed from therapy to be a night guard, and when I complained, I was removed to the construction area, so no Psychic Massage yet. Before the Ranch was over, I was reinstated in the Multiversity, giving normal massages. That suited me perfectly.
After the Ranch finished and Osho’s World Tour ended with his return to India, the period affectionaly known as Pune II began in 1987. There Psychic Massage courses flourished, always full of very capable participants, and we had a marvelous staff, including Leela (aka Waduda). Our emphasis was on presence. We were teaching people the value of connecting with their own meditative state while giving sessions.
Because of self-connection, a participant learning the work could check the energy in the chakras of their partner (receiver) and tell where in the body there was a connection to meditation. These “connected” body areas would be touched often during a session – including at the beginning and at the end – to support the meditation already in the body and to remind the person that “This is who you are.” The more the client was rooted in their being, the more they could handle a discussion of those unconscious energies which were still invisible because they were unloved and unwanted.
I developed the concept of ‘underpinning’, which might be described as the deepest darkness in the system. To send light into this place could be too painful for the person. Metaphorically speaking, if you remove one tile from the roof of his house, the person will not be threatened. But if you remove the foundation stone and the whole house comes tumbling down, this is a different matter. Most people are not ready for that. I instructed my students not to touch the underpinning, or not to energetically penetrate there, until they were sure it was the right moment.
At this time, Psychic Massage no longer had any intention to massage all the body parts in order to find out the client’s situation. This could be seen in the beginning, by a check of the two feet and the seven chakras. After that energy check, the therapist then decided which parts of the body should be touched for supporting the love already present. As this love expanded, the darker parts would be indirectly affected and dissolved without any obvious intervention from the therapist.
Osho told me to write a book about Psychic Massage, and thus was born The Master’s Touch: Psychic Massage. I had to write it, to correct all the mistakes in the first book.
3: The importance of male/female integration
In that book, there was reference to many things that would eventually grow into a new method called Star Sapphire: for example, relationship patterns, how to recognize and resolve relationship entanglements, how to see pictures of the male and female figures in the feet during the energy check. But for writing The Master’s Touch, I was only peripherally concerned with these things. I had the feeling (again) that the story with Psychic Massage was finished and that I should urgently write down everything about this method before it was lost forever.
From now on, I thought (erroneously), I would be giving verbal sessions without massage. It was a pity, in a way, that the bodywork would have to be sacrificed to make space for a dialog between the person’s male and female sides. There wasn’t enough time in one session to do everything!
In fact, I spent the next ten years working with the inner male and female in verbal sessions and trainings. But then I got a surprise. Psychic Massage came back once more. This time it had a new depth, because I had discovered that the maladjustment between the inner male and female is often itself the underpinning! The subject was that important…basic!
Before, I thought the underpinning could be located physically – a darkness, an unresolved tension in a particular part of the body. Now my vision was broader. The darkness and tension in one polarity could be directly caused by the predominance of the other polarity.
Psychic Massage as a method could now meet the needs of a broader range of people. First of all, it was good for beginners. They could just relax on the table without any particular worries or responsibilities. It was good for people ready to take responsibility – to see their weaknesses and learn to smile anyway. And it was also good for the very grown-up soul, who experiences a problem but can’t consciously grasp the cause. The body always reveals the cause.
These days, when I want a session for myself and the practitioner is skilled in both Star Sapphire and Psychic Massage methods, my preference is Psychic Massage. I will find out what I need to know and receive a beautiful bodywork session at the same time.
Giving a Psychic Massage
At the risk of being redundant, I’m going to give you a thumbnail sketch of what is Psychic Massage. This time I’m the giver, not the receiver.
Psychic Massage is a meeting of two beings. I am meeting the client inside myself and they are meeting me inside themselves. We are rooted in some ineffable center of existence where everything is at ease and nothing has gone wrong.
Because of an energy check I have done in the beginning of the session, I know where to touch the person for this space to blossom and, contrarily, where not to touch. Everybody has places of openness and places of holding where they don’t let anybody in.
There is a right timing for telling the person verbally some details which I see with psychic vision about their positive and negative aspects. If my client is new to meditation, I absolutely have to support the positive. The person has enough problems already without my adding another one. As their meditation and self-acceptance grow over time, I will be able to address the untruth that they carry—they can handle this information without getting identified. And after the being of the person grows even more, I can spend the whole session on darknesses, because the person has so much light of their own that no unpleasant discovery can upset them. On the contrary, they want to know the sometimes painful truth about themselves, to be with it, and to integrate it.
My purpose in giving a Psychic Massage is not to remove blocks or difficulties. My purpose is to bathe the client in love, so that their relaxation, celebration, and joy grow proportionately bigger. Then the more frozen parts of the body get affected by the client’s new warmth, and they soften in sympathy. Eventually they are ready to be seen and to let go completely.
Sagarpriya was co-creator of the Rajneesh Counselor Training when it first began in Osho’s Pune commune in 1978. Since that time she has been leading therapist trainings in Counseling, Psychic Massage, and Star Sapphire Energywork. Now she lives in Italy, where she is the President and co-founder of Conscious Living, an association that offers Osho’s meditations and courses about presence in small, daily activities—including, of course, work and relationship. consciousliving.it
Sagarpriya will be giving part one of Psychic Massage Training, 18 Aug – 1 Sep 2015, in Italy.