What if there were a healing art, an art of which the French, Italians, Spanish, and Brazilians, were masters, one that is largely ignored in the States. What if the practice of this art promoted flow of the secretions, broke barriers, and healed old wounds? What is it you ask, nuclear, biologic, biogenetic and why weren’t we the first to get it. Fret not. It is, according to a study at University of California, Berkeley, “literally at your fingertips,” “the forefront of a new Science….” It’s available to all, at no cost, not even a modest co-pay. Got it yet? It’s touch, compassionate touch.
Now, the early Christians, we hear, prospered largely because of this touch. They were known to one another and to the Middle Eastern world by their “laying on of hands.” I love those words. What is implied in them? Here, as I begin to formulate my thoughts, I cannot say. Let’s see first what laying on the of the hands is not. It is not tentative. Laying on of the hands does not possess the potential of withdrawing them. It is disarming, a complete vulnerability. What laying on of the hands is, I see, is an extension of love, a literal reaching out to the other. The hands lay on like we lay ourselves down to rest, by the part that releases and extends to a whole.
How many, times have we sensed the opportunity for compassionate touch and waited too long, an opportunity lost. How terrible that feels. Today, tomorrow, at the latest, reach out and touch someone, give someone the blessing of your hands. I couldn’t part without mentioning that blessé in French means to wound rather than to bless. It is a false cognate, having no bearing on the English word bless, unless we include, that touch may mean the wounding of our own hardness, of our very American, personal isolation.
Touch is available to all. You don’t even have to be Brazilian, but it helps. It’s right there within you. Let it be manifest, strong, fest, in the hands, mani. I hope that you’ll have something to add about this, about your experience of touch, a moment that it has defined for you. If so, please do share that. It is another way of reaching out.