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Flyboy...and the Skydancer

One of the more fascinating encounters I had in the early days of Thai massage...
You never know what to expect in life...

"Are you a dancer?" Jason asked as we said goodbye.
I turned back and looked down at him from the stairway.
"Why no! Why would you think that?"
"You seem like a dancer. Everything about you strikes me that way."

I smiled quizzically. Nothing in my background would suggest that.
Especially since I had just laid my crutches aside following knee surgery
the week before we met.
His question left me wondering...

My young neighbor and I had met while walking around the lake
near our homes. (see 'A Child's Love' for that most curious story)
We bumped into each other on the trail several times a week.
Before long, we teamed up.
As I got to know him, his story emerged.
He said he was retired. At 32, he was young to be retired...
I noticed that he walked with a slight limp.
It turned out that he was an ex-Navy Seal who had seen a good deal of combat.
He told me stories of the incredibly difficult training they had undergone.
But his combat stories were harrowing! He was fortunate to have lived.
The combat injuries had taken a terrific toll on his body!
He had been assigned to helicopter rescue at one point...over land and sea.
In essence, he had jumped out of helicopters, loaded down with gear,
far too many times. His hips and lower back were very badly affected.
His injuries and constant pain had sidelined him at an early age.
He was in a lot more pain than he revealed.

I offered him a Thai massage...just a little trial to see if it would help.
A few days later, he appeared at my door, looking drawn and weary.
He hadn't slept in 3 days. The pain was inescapable.
My heart went out to him.
He was willing to try anything...
I arranged some mats and quilts on the floor and helped him get down.
I closed my eyes, prayed for guidance and began to work.
In the quiet, rhythmic movements, I found myself slipping in and out of trance.
I struggled to hold the form and keep my attention focused.
A few minutes into the session, I started to get hot.
So hot that I began to drip with sweat...very unlike me.
I was confused. I wasn't working hard enough for that to happen.

Meanwhile Jason appeared to be in a deep sleep. That seemed strange, as well.
I continued on as best I could. But each time I resumed the work,
the wooziness and sweat intensified.
Finally I stopped working and sat with my back against the wall for support.
Even with that, I poured sweat in a way that was totally foreign to me.
It didn't seem to matter if I was moving or still.
Was I sick with a fever? I couldn't tell...
I got up and resumed the session. I was drenched at the end.
My young friend slept through everything.
He woke an hour later, saying he'd had the best sleep in a long time...
and then he went home.

A week later, he was at my door again. He had the same distressed look.
"Not sleeping again?"
He nodded in affirmation.
"Come in!"
Soon after I started working with him, I had the same strange symptoms
as I'd had before!
He fell into a deep sleep again as soon as we got underway.
I found myself falling in and out of trance again...a kind of deep absorption.
This whole scenario was repeated every time I worked with him.
I started to realize that the extreme heat and sweat only occurred
when I was doing Thai Massage.
At one point, I went to my doctor for tests to see what was wrong with me.
She couldn't find anything. I was in perfect health.

On one of our last sessions, I began the work as usual.
I felt that I was gaining a bit of control over the trance state as time went on,
but on this day there was such strong energy filling the room that I couldn't
rise above it.
Jason had fallen into his deep sleep once more.
I tried to stay upright, but soon I was so overcome that I fell over on the floor
into a deep sleep, as well.
Then I had the most extraordinary dream...
In the dream, I went to Jason and grabbed him by the hand.
I tugged at him to rouse him.
"Come ON, Jason! Come with me! We're going for a ride!" I said excitedly.
And what a ride...
Suddenly we were flying. I was leading him higher and higher.
We passed over mountains, villages and other earthly terrain and then
we began to soar even higher.
We flew above the earth, above the clouds, into the stratosphere.
We marveled at all the breathtaking scenery.
Then the pace picked up dramatically!
We flew faster and higher until we reached a plane far above the earth.
We were flying through majestic starscapes at incredible speed.
And then we reached a plane that felt like another realm.
We slowed down.
We passed through a gate and entered a crystalline city of indescribable beauty. We flew just slightly above the buildings. We flew at the speed of thought.
I was taking him on a detailed tour of this amazingly beautiful city.
Everything was incandescent, sparkling, luminous and jewel-like...
even the streets. I seemed to know the place well. Every nook and cranny
felt comfortingly familiar, as I pointed things out to him.

Curiously, in this waking/dreaming life, I cannot recall a single dream of heaven. Moreover, many people have flying dreams. I am not one of them.
But there I was, showing Jason everything that awaited him one day...
His pain would be no more. He would be whole.
We laughed, we understood, we were overjoyed...

When I woke from the dream, I wept from the beauty of it.
It had all seemed so real!
But I was back in my apartment once more, wishing that I could somehow
convey this experience to Jason.

When Jason woke up a bit later, he sat up and looked around the room
as though confused by his surroundings.
He had an almost beatific look on his face...a face relieved of pain and sorrow.
He shook himself to reconnect with the world.
He flashed me a happy smile.
He was excited to tell me about a dream he'd had.
In his words...
"An angel came and woke me up. She took me by the hand .
She had something she wanted to show me.
We flew high above the world. We passed the Milky Way. We flew through it!
You can't imagine what it was like! And then she took me to heaven!
We flew everywhere...she showed me everything. It was so beautiful!!
I had no pain! Can you believe it?! I was so free!!"

Tears sprang to me eyes.
He described everything just as I had experienced it!
It WAS real! We had journeyed together!

I know it gave him hope... It was a taste of the Reality that lies beyond.
There was something beyond this life with all it's pain and brokenness.

My time there was coming to an end. I moved onto a houseboat
and made it my home. When it was time to christen her, I cast around
for a fitting new name to go along with my new life.
An unfamiliar word came to mind repeatedly, fairly drumming its way
into my head...'dakini'....'dakini'.

When I looked it up, I found the following:
A dakini (Sanskrit: "sky dancer") is a Tantric priestess of ancient India
who "carried the souls of the dead to the sky". This Buddhist figure is particularly upheld in Tibetan Buddhism. The dakini is a female being of generally volatile temperament, who acts as a muse for spiritual practice.
She is characterized as a celestial being, part angel, part human,
who mediates between heaven and earth as she dances her prayers.

This was more fitting than I could have imagined...
I couldn't wait for my neighbors at the marina to turn in for the night.
After the last lights were turned off, I could be found on top of my boat,
dancing my prayers beneath the stars.

Debra Robinson / skydancer@ij.net
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