The Catechism Continues! Masochism, Hedonism, & Chili Peppers: Why getting “Rolfed” is one of the most socially responsible things a person can do…

Some people think Rolfing® Structural Integration is selfish or hedonistic. Other people think it’s masochistic. Either way it sounds neither responsible nor enjoyable. What do you say about that?

First, please don’t believe anything I say—see for yourself. But likewise don’t disbelieve it because I said it—see for yourself in that case too: “When the bird & the book disagree, believe the bird.” I think John Audubon said that.

In any case, here’s the “book” (but believe your bird if her chirps intone another tale!): Rolfing SI is neither masochistic, nor hedonistic, nor selfish, nor extreme in any other similar way. All of these views are misrepresentations. Firstly, just because something hurts doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. Some people like chili peppers. Why? Because they burn. We tend to regard pain & pleasure as opposites—as mutually exclusive. But that’s simply not the case. It’s a gross generalisation & real life almost always contains both at the same time. Opposites often coincide; strange bedfellows are ordinary bedfellows. Moreover….getting Rolfed is actually one of the most socially responsible things a person can do.

How could it possibly be socially responsible?

Because when you feel comfortable & at ease in your body, your heart & mind are at peace. When your body is at peace and your heart & mind are at peace, then you’re at peace. And in this condition, you’re less likely to pull the trigger when somebody cuts you off in traffic. Ever since I started carrying a six-shooter under my bicycle seat, I have made concerted efforts to take care of myself so that I might maintain better equanimity even in reactive situations. That way I don’t have to shoot anybody, & nobody has to get shot. The distinction of selfish & selfless dissolves (see the post on Metakinetical Relativity)!

I don’t actually carry a gun on my bicycle. I just wrote that to make a joke. But it was one of those great jokes with a moral: most of the things we do happen before we have time to think about them. Often it is not our intellect, but our moods that dictate our response to a given situation. Our moods being the subjective expression of our physical & psychological states (see the series on Ye Three Kingdoms & Five Elements!), it is therefore incumbent on us to tend to them; it’s our responsibility & no one else’s.

Again, to be selfless, one must be selfish first, if one need it. Say someone in a truck decides to run me off the road—if life is good, then I get up out of the ditch, dust myself off, fix my cuff-links & hope the bastard straightens out whatever was troubling him enough to try to kill a (relatively) innocent bicyclist. But if my back hurt, I was late to a session, & I was hungry, then I might get up out of the ditch, livid, & forget even to dust myself off because I was too fixated on a fantasy of actually carrying a pistol on my bicycle and forthwith embracing a spirit of vigilanteism in order to teach all the maniacs a lesson.

It’s very straightforward (so much so that I often overlook it): when we feel good, everyone around us benefits. When we don’t, then everyone better stay out of the way. This is how wars start: because one person woke up on the wrong side of bed & the next guy can’t find the space in himself to let it blow over. Evil isn’t fundamental; it’s the result of people failing to see this connection, & by extension, neglecting to get Rolfed, for example. A rising tide lifts all ships; conversely a raging Leviathan consumeth them. Like water lifts ships, Rolfing SI lifts bodies. If, conversely, we all could manage to prioritise our own well-being, and feel, as the 23rd Psalm expresses it:

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies
Thou annoinest my head with oil
My cup runneth over.

Then the world’s troubles will resolve themselves like candles with no wicks. To help one’s neighbor is the natural & spontaneous outpouring of this joy, when it is unobstructed by physical, emotional, or psychological hindrances & one’s own vessel of being o’erfloweth

with beaded bubbles winking at the brim

as a consequence. Obviously this view is idealistic. But it is only idealistic in the sense that it describes improvement. It may be visionary to present individual well-being as the precondition for global utopia, but it is not fanciful or naïve. If you dismiss it as such, watch out! It’s an excuse to avoid taking action. This dismissal is the subjective experience of your narrow, narrative, egoic mind attempting to rationalise not making any changes so that it might persist in the comfortable & insidious sleep-march of habit! Beware ye rainbow-eyed Devil of Habit, wickéd warden of the march!

Maybe it sounds silly or even insulting, but it’s not meant that way. This represents my understanding (besides the devil part—that’s not literal). Don’t believe it just because someone wrote it down, but don’t reject it for this reason either. Don’t believe anyone—you don’t need to. The world will tell us anything we want to know; all we have to do is listen. Then you hear the the grand budding harmony that starts with individual notes, but doesn’t end there.


If you look carefully you can see the holster under the seat. Just kidding—it’s just a piece of leather coming off.


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