power to live,
serve the future hour.
this is wondrous strange.
are more things in heaven
and earth, Horatio, than are
dreamt of in your philosophy.
was John who always quoted these words of Hamlet to me as his life and
the lives of others began to mesh with mine. But not just yet: they were
all in the future, and nothing that followed would have happened if I
had not taken the road over the Scottish Border in that sunny late May
in 1982, to determine whether there was in reality '...something in my
hands which would have the power to live and act and serve the future'.
had been consulted and it was indeed deemed auspicious that I should begin
my apprenticeship with Bruce Macmanaway at his centre at Strathmiglo,
and there I arrived near midday one Sunday to a kind welcome. I was placed
in a flat in the village that I shared for a short while with a young
student, Nicky, who, it turned out, originated from a place not fifteen
miles from my own South Welsh home. We did not share for very long for
she departed, ostensibly to stay with a sick friend.
I spent the Sunday evening taking stock of my surroundings and musing
upon what might happen, though I was not in any way certain exactly what
I would be doing, for I wasn't to get my 'induction' until the following
morning. In a sense, though, I had company, for since my visit to my Uncle
Gwyn it had been put into my mind that I was to have transferred to me
his two 'guides' - 'Great Heart and Xiang'. I cannot remember how I reacted
to this intimation, and had not speculated much upon what, if anything,
it might mean, nor what might follow. I was still very wary of any
form of intrusion or overt spiritual association, as I am right up to
this present day, for I have never been without them, good and bad, as
I shall write in detail later. In addition to the alleged African, Ibn
Ubar, who, I assumed was still active and party to the developments, I
had my new duo, and thus equipped, but not thinking specifically about
any of 'them', I slept well and rose early to meet the day.
It was such a beautiful sunny morning, as indeed it was all week, and
I walked the short distance to 'Westbank' - a sturdy former farm house
with its buildings converted to a variety of other uses, though there
were still horses. At the entrance and vying with the sun was a rosebush
in full bloom, a rose that I have grown myself ever since. It is the first
of any to show in spring, and although its flowers are single and just
a couple of inches across, the whole bush presents such a joyous picture,
truly living up to its name of Canary Bird.
How very much I regret that I can do no more than give you the merest
inkling of the impact that this week, and particularly this first day,
were to have on my life and development thereafter. At one level, there
is a whole crowd of superlatives jostling to be used: at another, and
so very potent, are the images that so easily return to my mind's eye.
In every one of these images there was the sunshine that was all pervasive,
especially in the part of the treatment area in which I was to work closely
with Bruce. The sunlight poured in through a large area of glass, which
itself gave onto a beautiful and imaginative garden, the product of Patricia's
mind and hands. It illuminated a long room divided by curtains into several
consulting and treating areas, and shone onto Bruce and two young women,
friends, who had arrived together, each needing help.
Both were professional violinists and, as with many of their calling,
had upper back problems. Bruce used to declare that he could muster at
least one full orchestra from among his clients! Permission for my being
there having been sought and willingly given, I sat to one side, watched,
and listened. A decision having been made as to which would go first,
Bruce sat and chatted to her, pendulum in hand. I already knew what he
would be seeking in his mind, but it soon became apparent that he could
work simultaneously on two levels. A pendulum is used in these circumstances
simply to indicate a definite "Yes" or "No", giving
answers to the mental questions - "Can I help this person?"
"Are there any problems in the spine?" And so on, following
a sequence that had been established over years of practice, and through
which an easy conversation could still proceed.
It was determined that this young woman's problems lay in the muscles
controlling the shoulder blades, and these in turn were subjected to some
subtle and skilful manipulation. She was next sat upon a high stool, I
stood behind and responded to my instruction to "Put your hands there,
Roy" - 'there' being parallel with her spine and between her shoulder
blades. So simple, but such a seminal moment, especially as the response
was almost immediate. "Phoooaaah!" was the ecstatic sound, followed
by attempts to put the inner sensations produced into context, the nearest
analogy being, I think, that they were the equivalent of being in a microwave
oven. It was the response that I needed, for I had had no inkling of what
to expect, as through my hands I felt nothing, no tingling, no excessive
heat, nothing exceptional. And there I stayed, applying 'hot hands', as
my mentors used to phrase it, while the second violinist received the
equivalent from Bruce. I know that this was commonplace to the workers
at Westbank, but to me that ecstatic sound had told me all that I needed
to know, just as I knew that my life would never be quite the same again.
If I needed further demonstration and confirmation, it came with the next
client of the morning, a Russian Orthodox priest who had arrived with
his interpreter. A diminutive man, bent and hobbling with a stick, he
looked very un-Russian, and more like an ancient Chinese intellectual.
He was riddled with arthritis in knees, hips and shoulders, and kneeling
for prayer or his beloved gardening was impossible. The conversation,
travelling as it did via the woman interpreter, who also had an input,
was fascinating, but all the while the pendulum was reacting. Following
a series of manipulations, Bruce sat with his hands in place on hip and
knee, while I was placed to stand so that I could have my hands at the
back and front of a shoulder. The animated conversation continued, while
I felt the crabbed little rounded shoulder between my hands. But what
was this? My hands were slowly coming together, and between them it felt
as if the intervening shoulder was melting. From time to time a hand came
up and stroked the one of mine that was at the front, and again, occasionally,
the head turned and bright bird-like eyes shone up at me from above a
beatific smile, which itself emerged from a wispy oriental beard. I have
no real idea how long we stayed thus, but magic moments always end too
soon, and there he was, being escorted out by Bruce, while his interpreter
sat holding herself with laughter. What amused her so was that the little
priest no longer hobbled and had gone off without his stick, totally oblivious
to the extent of his now upright stature, while it was being slowly explained
to him that Bruce never took payment from the ministers of any religion.