A heavy post about a conversation I had with my Massage Therapist

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the Zen master Ummon.

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Why, hello there! How are you? Good, I hope. I thought I would tell you a little story that happened earlier this week. Monday, in fact. At my Massage Therapy appointment.

First of all, I haven’t really told you much about massage therapy. I like it. I guess. It seems to be working. It definitely has helped with my problem of cramping muscles after the accident. So that’s good. I was very nervous about going at first. And still a little bit now. I am the kind of person that hates getting her hair cut because I am a little shy and not good with conversation while people are doing things with my hair. I hate the dentist for the same reason. And the doctor. I have recently been lucky to have found a very good hairdresser/dentist/doctor that make me feel comfortable. And my massage therapist has been pretty good in that regard, as well.

But this past Monday was different. First of all, the appointment was in the afternoon (not the morning ) and he seemed a bit chattier that usual. I suppose that’s fine, but I would rather relax during my massage than chit chat. We talked a little bit about the weekend, my job, etc. Then we went on to the news. Specifically, the horrific earthquake in China that happened that very morning. I thought it was a little weird that he would bring up something so devastating during my massage, but o.k. Then he said, “your going to see more and more earthquakes like this and worse.” So I asked, “why do you say that? what do you think is going to happen?” I mean, he seemed to have some knowledge of some future events and I was curious. But as soon as the question came out of my mouth I regretted asking it. He launched into his “End Times” theories and how we are are “very close to the end times right now.”

I won’t go into it with you here. You probably know them already. We are in the end times right now and there are all of these things going on right now that prove it: Food Shortage, Earthquakes, wars, Tony Blair and his “Faith and Globalisation” speech, blah blah blah.

ugh. I just listened and pretended to be interested. What else could I do? Just get up and leave (not a possibility at all. And if you’ve had a professional massage you know why)? So I lay there and listened. Taking it all in.

I have told you before about my Christian past. In my past life as a born-again crazy-ass Pentecostal Christian I believed and studied these end-time theories. I really thought this was all going to happen, Armageddon, the Rapture, the second coming of Christ. All of it. And deep down inside the whole thing scared the hell out of me. It didn’t make me happy. I didn’t rejoice in this (but I pretended to). It really just scared me, more than anything (Along with lots of other things including the idea that people could be possessed by the devil, but that’s another blog post). I got out of the church more than ten years ago and it took me many, many years to clear some of this fear out of my mind and my psyche. I think my experience with the Pentecostal Church screwed me up a little bit psychologically. I probably should have gone to a Psychiatrist because of it, but I have managed to work it out myself over the years.

When my massage therapist started talking to me about this some of that old fear came back and I started to question myself. I actually started to think, “Wow. He’s kind of making sense.” That old Fundamentalist Christian logic bubbled right back up to the surface. It’s kind of scary how I quickly I fell back into that way of thinking. But thank you skeptics . I read a few things that shook me back into the realm of logical thinking.

This episode has made me come a little bit closer to the realization that Christianity is not for me. I have nothing against Jesus. Jesus was cool. I just really have not had the best experience with the religion. I realized that my experience really kind of messed me up. I was brainwashed. And I am still, more than ten years later, having to deal with it. I know that not everyone has had this kind of an experience so this is not a generalization. This is totally personal. But I have come to realize that Christianity(as I have experienced it) is a religion based in fear. I don’t want to live in fear. Simple as that. I just do not want to live in fear. Been there. Didn’t like it. At all.

So I continue to look at Zen Buddhism. And I am liking what I see. I can’t believe I am actually in a place to even consider another religion other than Christianity. That thought would have really scared me not that long ago (I’d be going to hell if I thought about something else). But I moving on. It is liberating.