Whatever you touch touches you back. This is Newton’s third law of motion and reflective of the very nature of our touch sense organ: the skin. Covering every inch of our bodies, the skin is our outer barrier; it lets things in and it lets things out. It is both a sender and a receiver of information (among other things).
When we consider the fact that we go around touching things with the organ we use to sense touch, it seems obvious: of course we cannot touch without being touched. But, what that fact means, well that is not so obvious.
Many years ago, I was visiting my family in a tiny village in Vermont. After spending three and a half solid weeks doing almost nothing but sleeping, eating and practicing yoga, and then two days on the road traveling, I needed a massage! In the small attic room of a little house that has been standing more than 200 years, I received one of the best massages of my life.
The therapist was kind, adaptive and very proficient with techniques. The room was comfortable, warm and quiet. The mid-afternoon sun dappled the massage table. As beautiful and helpful as all of these things are for a good massage, none of them are what made this massage so memorable. Instead, it was me.
Each moment, as the therapist’s hands touched my skin, dipping into my muscle tissue and working to separate and elongate the fibers, I actively brought my awareness to each spot and, from the inside, I touched back.
For me, the effect of actively participating in the process was as if my muscles were being worked from both sides—inside and out. I left with a deeper understanding of what my body needed to experience fewer aches and pains.
When someone touches us, we will always touch back, whether we intend to or not. And when we touch, we must also be touched, whether we want to be or not. In this truth, there is an opportunity for a deeper connection with and a deeper understanding of ourselves, as well as others.
All it takes is awareness and a willingness to reach out and say hello.