Studying with ajhan Pichest
I can still remember the feel and atmosphere of the teaching hall outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The long hot days, and the fans blowing over students who had come to learn from him. Italy, Norway, France, Canada, the US, there were people from all over the western world enamored with Ajhan Pichest, a teacher who could barely speak English.
And then, there were the students who were quickly frustrated with him. Who claimed he taught nothing. Usually after a day or two they left.
MEDITATION & PRAYER ARE SIGNIFIGANT PRACTICES IN THAI MASSAGE
Coming from a strong background in yoga and meditation, I began to show up every morning 1 hour before all the other students. Mainly my room in the city was dark, and small and I desired somewhere to do my practice. So I travelled every morning to Pichest's home classroom and I practiced subtle yoga, meditated and prayed. For two weeks, I did this, and Pichest mostly ignored me. I prayed, to be shown how to help others and myself. I prayed for many things in my thai massage practice.
Then one morning, I prayed for the knowledge of how to help someone with shoulder injury and pain. Without a word, that morning Pichest started to teach me. He showed me how to use my knee to work points on the back of the shoulder blade and from this moment, a student teacher relationship began to unfold.
ASK AND YOU SHALL BE GIVEN
I prayed in the mornings to be gifted with the knowledge of Thai massage. The days were spent receiving and giving thai massage. It seemed, I never had to speak, it was almost as if he was really reading my thoughts or tuned into the subtle field. I think at the time, I didn't realize to the full extent what was happening. But later a student of his for 25 years took me to lunch and she said, 'you know I haven't seen Pichest teach too many people, but he has been teaching you. You need to keep going in this practice.'
Studying with Pichest, is an ego destroyer. I've watched him poke fun, insult and him bring to light the places where our mind gets is the way. I've also witnessed immense compassion, wisdom and skill. Studying with him is not for the faint at heart, and takes patience, letting go of expectation, humility and remembering the beginners mind.
TAPPING INTO THE WISDOM OF THE TEACHERS & HEALERS THAT CAME BEFORE
If anything Thai Massage has taught me about helping others is, is there is technique and then there is compassion and intuition. Together they make the practice whole. Getting really good at technique (while important) does not bring the full extent of this practice to life . When we can move past the mind, ego, and attachments to reside in that space, the technique that we practice is infused with deep listening, intuition and guidance from the evolving wisdom of Nuad Boran.
He clearly states that his intention is to teach others to meditate, pray and listen deeply. That he teaches students to free themselves from being guided by the mind, and with proper technique follow intuitive guidance, transmitted from all healers who have come before.
I received just that, learning from Pichest and other teachers who also studied with him. Honestly, this is what I love most about Thai Massage. Every treatment is an opportunity to let go a little bit more, to help another being and learn to live guided by spirit and the heart.
In gratitude to Ajhan Pichest and Kaline. Studying with you has changed my life.
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Tara is a Thai Massage instructor and bodyworker who lives on Vancouver Island with her family. She fuses meditation, prayer and thai massage to offer treatments for others.